I'd actually bought this show quite some time ago, but hadn't gotten around to watching it because I got distracted by the many other shows I still had yet to watch on DVD/Blu-ray. Since this one had been sitting and waiting to be watched for so long, I just randomly decided to choose it next. I'd read comments that didn't seem too kind towards this show, and the rating on the IMDB board for it wasn't overly favourable either, but none of that mattered to me as I judge things for myself rather than letting others' opinions influence me and that's why I bought it.
I thought the first episode had a strange beginning in that it seemed to just jump right into the middle of a scene with the lead character, Talon (played by Jessica Green, who's come a long way since I last saw her playing an alien surfer chick in the Aussie kids' show Lightning Point), wanting to get revenge on those who'd wronged her (and by 'wronged her' I mean they killed her family and the rest of her village, so her focus on revenge is understandable). Like, there wasn't any lead-up to it and I almost felt as though I'd missed an episode. Anyway, as odd as it felt, I did appreciate them wasting no time in getting on with the story/action. Strangely, it was after the opening scene that we then flashed back to Talon's childhood (when she had hobbit-ish ears) and saw her backstory (she's from a sub-species of humans called 'Blackbloods' on account of their...well...what do you think?). At one point when she's hiding from those killing everyone in her village, she has a demon-looking arm emerge from a blue glowing portal thing and save her from getting shot with an arrow by a soldier (then the dude purposely misses the second time), so apparently she has a mysterious saviour out there (well, technically two saviours - one being the demon and the other being the dude who purposely missed). I felt like this flashback was slightly intrusive, as we were just getting to know her character in the 'present' and then they spent a good deal of the episode in the past before we cut back to her as an adult. I felt maybe they should've had this whole flashback scene at the very beginning of the episode and then we could've cut to her seeking revenge as an adult - it would've felt less jarring, I think. Anyway, usually kids in shows (and movies) annoy me, but young Talon proved what a badarse she was by cutting off the tips of her ears with a knife and NO ANESTHETIC. I thought that was pretty hardcore. And before that she had beaten the snot out of...well...a little snot who shot a poor horned creature (called a 'Remmick') with an arrow, killing it. So already young Talon was pretty cool.
I did notice what people had said about the show not exactly being Game of Thrones-like in its scope, effects, sets, costumes or acting...but it didn't bother me. If anything, it reminded me of Xena: Warrior Princess from the 90's (though with less slapstick humour). The fact that the show seems like it's from the 90's probably should be a strike against it...but I like it, as it takes me back to a simpler time when shows weren't bogged down so much with 'agendas' and whatnot. As for the the effects - I've noticed with a lot of shows that they seem to either start off with big budgets that slowly dwindle over time or they start off with limited budgets and as they get more popular they're given bigger budgets where you start to notice an improvement in the way things look, the CGI improves, there are bigger sets, etc. I'm hoping it'll be a case of the latter with this show, but I'm actually fine with it being more on the 'small' scale at the moment. As for Jessica Green...I have no problem with her acting (though I did notice her Aussie accent slipping through once or twice). I've seen a lot of shows where the lead character and the actor/actress who portrayed them didn't feel quite at ease in their role to start with and it took a while for them to actually convey some emotion (hell, Stephen Amell seemed like Captain Cardboard in most of the first season of Arrow, and it was only in the Season 1 final that I thought, "Oh, okay, so he can portray more than one emotion after all."). Anyway, I'm at least willing to give her a chance, as I've seen a lot worse acting (and on more 'esteemed' shows too).
Captain Garret Spears appeared to be the typical 'dashing' hero type who Talon was destined to fall for. He seemed decent enough and thankfully wasn't a jerk, but naturally he had to already be involved with someone else (oh, love triangles) - in this case a woman named Lady Gwynn Calkussar. She actually reminded me a bit of Hera Hilmar from Da Vinci's Demons...and I kind of wished it had been that actress in this role, but I think by the third episode I had grown to somewhat like her - mostly due to the fact that she had seemingly devoted herself to helping Talon out after she'd previously saved her (I got a good laugh from Talon flipping her onto the ground). Also, there was a scene with Talon taking a bath amongst rose petals in the third episode where I definitely got a feeling that maybe the two of them could become more than friends. Seriously, forget Garret, ladies, and get with each other already!
Then there was the character of Janzo. In the first episode I thought, "Oh, here we go..." as he seemed like the same sort of character I'd seen many times before. He's twitchy, he stumbles over his words, he might seem 'weird' to outsiders but he's actually very intelligent...and he has a thing for the female lead. These sorts of characters are a dime a dozen. However, by the second episode he'd seemed to settle down slightly and wasn't coming on so strong with his 'quirkiness' or whatever you wish to call it. Also, he was one of the nicer characters in the show which helped make him likeable. I'm glad Talon hasn't been too harsh towards him yet. I do fully expect that he's going to have a hard time later down the track once he learns she only has eyes for Garret (presumably), though I'd much prefer her with Gwynn. I think by the third episode I was liking Janzo more. I did enjoy his interaction with Talon and Garret when they dropped a 'Plagueling' (humans that've been infected with a parasite that comes out of their mouths and can infect others with a bite from its stinger) into his brewery (I'm sure the actors/actresses enjoy sliding down into there, as it looks like fun) and he was so nonchalant about cutting up the dead guy (a former friend of Garret's). I was less fond of 'The Mistress' character (the actress's New Zealand accent was far more evident than Jessica Green's Aussie accent ever was) who owned the Nightshade Inn where Janzo worked at, as she was not very likeable, treated Janzo like crap and she was involved in some eyeroll-worthy drug plot involving green powder that people sniff (called 'Colipsum'). She, along with Garret's father (who doesn't look nearly old enough to be his father), Marshal Wythers, were two characters who annoyed me pretty much from when they were introduced.
Kevin McNally's blacksmith was probably the least annoying out of the 'older generation' characters and his interaction with Talon at least provided an interesting (non-romantic) dynamic/relationship for her. I was surprised when the first episode ended with Talon not just getting stabbed once, but twice by the bad guy she fought. I mean, obviously the hero wasn't going to die in the first episode, but I'm not used to lead characters suffering a seemingly mortal wound in their first episode. It showed that she's not just going to be some perfect fighter who wins every battle and instead she can be bested (at least at this point in time, anyway. Strange that people complained about how often she got beaten considering they'd probably also complain if she was an unbeatable fighter). It was the same deal in the third episode when she was going to have her head cut off guillotine-style, as obviously she was in no real danger of losing her head (a headless lead character - now that would be something different!), but it was somewhat amusing how long it took Wythers to actually get around to dropping the blade - of course, by the time he eventually did, Garret showed up and threw his sword at the guillotine, blocking the blade from meeting Talon's neck. The blacksmith gives her a piece of parchment and makes it clear she's not to read it out loud...which she ignores (though, to be fair, as she later pointed out to him when they argued over this, he didn't tell her why she shouldn't read it aloud) and as a result there was now a demon running around. However, it seems to be the same one who saved her as a child, so it would appear she can control it to some degree. Yay for pet demons!
Was the CGI for the demon particularly good? No, but dodgy CGI is something I'm used to and I think a lot of people got spoiled for effects with shows like Game of Thrones and now they expect every show to be up to that same standard - which just ain't gonna happen. I've watched plenty of shows with dodgy effects and they don't typically bother me. The background sunset effects for the scene with Talon and Garret later on amused me, as they reminded me of the equally dodgy sunsets that used to provide the background for many a Clark/Lana scene on Smallville. Also unintentionally comical was the bad guy at the end of the third episode. I'm not sure who he was trying to intimidate with his grey manbun, but I didn't find him particularly menacing.
I felt sorry for the poultry farmer who got offed by Talon's pet demon at the start of the fourth episode, as he just seemed to really enjoy feeding his chickens. Bad demon! We were then treated to a sparring session between Talon and Garret and of course this scene mainly existed to get Garret's shirt off (the old reliable slash-their-clothing-so-they-have-to-remove-it maneuver), she bested him, he bested her, then naturally Gwynn walked in. Surprisingly, she didn't even bat an eye at her shirtless beau on top of her new BFF. It was kind of funny how she ran over to embrace Talon and didn't look at Garret twice as he struggled to explain the situation. I thought this was further evidence of Gwynn being much more interested in Talon than him, though once outside she made it clear she didn't want Talon making the moves on him, to which she responded by denying any intention of move-making. Then it was ladies night! I enjoyed seeing more of Talon/Gwynn together as they went to the inn, played a card game that Gwynn had to teach Talon the rules of (naturally, she was really good at it...though what the hell kind of card game is it where you don't have to show your cards at the end to prove you had the winning hand?). I think I saw Talon smiling/laughing more in this episode than the previous three episodes combined. Both actresses have an easy chemistry with each other and it'd be a shame if the show never explored their characters getting together.
I felt bad for Janzo, since he had to take over Talon's duties while she played cards (I hope Gwynn doesn't turn out to be one of these characters with a seemingly endless supply of money, as she used it here to cover for Talon not doing her job as a barmaid). I liked the scene with him and Talon later on where he got a feel for what sort of guys she was into, but I think he's due for some heartbreak. Too bad she's more interested in Garret. Speaking of, he was pissed at Gwynn because she was out having fun with Talon while he and others were searching everywhere for her and as punishment for losing her, the ones who were supposed to keep an eye on her were apparently going to be castrated (seems harsh). Can't say I was interested in anything involving the Mistress or Wythers (both of whom seem to do a lot of yelling and I find the actors who play them tend to overact. Weird that everyone seems to only pick on Jessica Green, since she's hardly the worst in the show). The only thing of note was poor Janzo's guilt after him figuring out about the messenger birds got a guy killed. It's getting slightly ridiculous how often Talon's getting stabbed in the gut, as she did here at the end of this episode by her pet demon - she really needs to invest in some chainmail/body armour. It was kind of funny that she got stabbed in basically the same place as last time (Archie in Riverdale had the same problem). If this getting stabbed in the gut becomes a regular thing, they should just explain that she’s like Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who/Torchwood and say she's immortal.
In the next episodes, Talon managed to recover from her gut wound pretty well, we found out the blacksmith was the soldier dude who purposely missed her with an arrow he shot (this was after he'd totally intended the first one to hit her but her pet demon took it in the arm, saving her, which made him decide to miss her the second time and tell the other soldiers she was dead), she learns he was one of the soldiers who massacred her village, the demon shows up just in the nick of time again to prevent a second attempt at chopping her head off with the guillotine (Wythers seems to really want her head removed from her body), she speaks her language to control the demon, the blacksmith gets fatally stabbed by a bad guy (who Talon later kills - so she's not the worst fighter ever like some try to make out, as she offed this guy who was supposedly so great) and it was interesting watching her having conflicting feelings as she shed a few tears over the blacksmith dying in her arms, as on the one hand she was rightfully pissed he had a hand in her village being massacred, but on the other hand I guess she'd grown somewhat attached to him. He also uses his dying breaths to tell her to find something called 'The Book of Names' (hopefully it actually has names in it, as I was most disappointed by the fact that The Book of Leaves in Da Vinci's Demons was not actually a book full of leaves). She eventually works out that the names are of demons and if she has that she can summon/control them...or something.
Other new information we learned was that Gwynn was not actually 'Gwynn' but instead a royal (at least this explains why she has a seemingly endless supply of money) and the real Gwynn got executed in her place, so the guy she's been saying was her father was the real Gwynn's father and not her own. Wythers figured all this out and blackmailed her into giving up Talon (which was disappointing to see. I didn't blame Talon for being pissed, since she obviously thought they were friends), while Janzo continued to prove he's Talon's TRUE friend by helping her out and Garret discovered that Talon's a Blackblood, as he saw her pet demon/now knows she can control it (sorta). The Mistress was yet again annoying, and I noticed her pipe she was smoking didn't actually have any smoke coming out. It was nice to see Talon and Janzo having some quality time together as they journeyed to go deliver gold in exchange for Colipsum. Of course, Talon was more 'streetwise' and advised him not to stop and listen to the singers, but he didn't heed her warning and consequently they were nearly robbed. Just as well Talon was there. It turned out the ones they were doing the exchange with were Greyskins (who are clearly guys on mini-stilts, as their legs are noticeably very thick - obviously to accommodate the suit wrapping around said stilts...but I appreciate that they at least made an effort to have these creatures not simply be humans in makeup. Sure, it's guys in suits, but giving them abnormal legs showed an attempt at making them more non-human). They exchange more Colipsum for the gold than Janzo was expecting and yet again Talon has to advise him not to do something stupid (like saying "You've given me too much. Here, take some back."). I do like that Talon has come to respect Janzo for the stuff he can do/does know, since there are clearly things that he's not so wise about. Other things that occurred included Gwynn managing to convince her people she's their Queen, Garret getting stung by a Plagueling and Manbun killing Gwynn's fake father.
I liked in the last three episodes that we got to see more of Talon, Garrett and Janzo as a trio. Naturally, there were some disagreements, and at one point after Talon got mad at Garret because she thought all he really cared about was Gwynn, she got cozy with Janzo for 'body warmth'. To Janzo's credit, at least he figured out what she was up to and mentioned how it wasn't very nice for her to be using him in such a way. Naturally, Garret doesn't actually end up turning, and seeing Janzo mystified by this was somewhat amusing since I figured part of him was probably thinking, "Just hurry up and turn already, so Talon has to off you and then you're out of the picture!". I liked that Talon pointed out to Garret how much Janzo had helped them and she praised him for it. I was amused after they got captured by Greyskins and were tied up, ready to become dinner, how Janzo was pissed that Garret was the only one of them being offered Calipsum by the Greyskins which told him they thought Garrett was a Plagueling and that's why they weren't going to eat him. I can totally relate to being ticked off at others having all the luck.
It was in this episode I noticed in closeup the Greyskins have CGI heads. I saw the behind the scenes shots and sure enough, it would appear the guys playing them wear suits, but they have green stockings over their heads so the Greyskins' heads can be CGI'd on top. I hadn't realised this before. I was sad that Talon summoned her pet demon to free her and take out the Greyskins, but in so doing she sent him to his death. I was glad that she felt bad about it, but Garret was there to point out it had killed innocent people, so...
In the final episode, I was annoyed that Talon finally had Manbun at her mercy and then Garret and Gwynn stopped her from killing him. Since he was the one who'd ordered her village to be massacred, she had every right to off him. Sure, Gwynn mentioned how he'd also killed her fake father...but giving him a 'fair trial' just allowed him to escape. We were introduced to Gwynn's new handmaiden, Naya, who I was hoping to like...but then she betrayed Gwynn by giving her up to Manbun because he had her mum and sister. Like, did she really expect such an evil bastard to have any honour/keep his promise? Suffice to say, she became another character I added to my 'Don't Like' pile along with most of the characters who aren't Talon, Janzo, Garret or Gwynn. Anyway, after Manbun escaped he stabbed poor Janzo and it showed Talon cares more about her friend than revenge, as she gave up chasing after Manbun to help save Janzo who instructed her to cauterize the wound with the hot poker he'd previously burned Manbun's face with before getting stabbed. While the trick of kissing someone so they don't feel pain has been done before, it was extra amusing here because then Talon compared how she felt about Janzo to how she felt about her brother she'd lost and he basically questioned whether she had a Leia/Luke thing going on with her brother, which she denied. Ultimately, it appears she's firmly stuck Janzo in the 'friendzone', but I imagine he'll only be able to take being stuck there for so long before he loses it and demands her to make a choice between him and Garret. Still, it was a good scene between the two and I think both actors have done a good job of making their characters' friendship that's developed over the course of the ten episodes a believable one.
At one point in the second half of the season Talon had learned the name 'Dragman' (it was funny when Janzo was giving Garret shit for thinking the name was 'Dragonman' since that's what I'd thought it was too to begin with), and the last scene of the episode revealed that the 'Dragman' was actually a 'Drag-girl' (Manbun's creepy kid sidekick who seemed to have powers that let her know things). Talon had also picked up an ancient-looking USB on her adventures which wound up in the fireplace by the end and then drag-girl was writing down names - which I'm guessing is the names of others like Talon's pet demon so she can summon more of them and have a demon army? That was how I interpreted it, anyway. All in all, I thought this was a fine little show. The amount of hate I've seen for it is unwarranted. I think people had high expectations and it didn't meet those...but that doesn't make it 'terrible'. It might not be as 'polished' as other fantasy shows, but it's got some good characters (the actors aren't that bad), has set up some nice world-building and there's a lot of potential for it to grow/improve. I saw that it not only got renewed for a second season, but also has a third season and will eventually have a fourth - so, really, that's the ultimate "SUCK IT!" to all of the haters.
Sanditon . Based on Jane Austen's last unfinished novel . The screenwriter , Andrew Davies , is well known for his involvement in historical series , and he has had to create and to fill out a great part of the story from Jane Austen's erudite introduction . The mini-series is therefore interpretative , and some fans have thought it too contemporary , but he is an intelligent writer , and has left the viewer with much thought for discussion afterwards . The series has many well-known period actors and actresses to watch , and there are a few surprises to enjoy , and not least , some of the unexpected twists in the story .
This^ one has been on TV here for a few weeks now. I do recognise a few actors/actresses from it. I don't mind it, but I still miss Poldark (the version that started back in 2015 and finished in 2019), which I feel this show is somewhat like. Still, it's good to have at least one 'period piece' to be watching on TV at the moment.
Avenue 5 is a space disaster satire along the lines of the Costa Concordia and Titanic themes . I thought it was very funny and the actors were carefully chosen for their adlib . Although I think there might be a missed opportunity if it had been played straighter .
I just recently finished this^ show on DVD. I'd read some comments saying that they didn't think it was that funny, so maybe that helped me go into it with low expectations, but I actually thought it was quite funny in places. Of course, the main reason I wanted to check it out was because it had Lenora Crichlow in the cast who I became a fan of when watching the UK version of Being Human.
Some of the characters in this show I wasn't that fussed on, but I liked her character and interaction with Hugh Laurie's character. Naturally, she ended up becoming my favourite.
I'm glad I was able to just go straight onto Season 2 of this show and didn't have to wait. It appears we're going to get one of those voiceover things at the start of every episode this season that are designed to catch up people who've never watched the show and explain what it's about in a nutshell. These things tend to annoy me. I mean, if you haven't watched the show, I think even after hearing this voiceover recap, you're still going to be confused about stuff. And for those of us who've watched the show from the beginning, it's just hearing stuff we already know at the start of every episode. Having said that, I'd somehow missed the fact last season that the tiny blue glowing light that sometimes appears from Talon's temple was some sort of creature. So, I guess I can't be too down on the voiceover. I'm mildly amused that her voiceover says she was the last of the Blackbloods and then adds "...or so I've been told." (I guess she couldn't say "...but that was complete BULLSHIT!"). Then after the show recap, we get the 'Previously on...', which I guess focuses on what they deemed the 'most important' stuff that has come before. So, it's almost like two recaps...which seems a tad excessive, but whatever.
This first episode of the season starts with Garret and his men finding Manbun and his female offsider in some dark dank place, there’s a wimpy soldier who doesn't want to go in...and maybe he was the only wise one of the lot, since the rest of the soldiers get slaughtered and then it looks like Garret's beaten Manbun as he says, "This is for Talon and your Queen..." only to get stabbed from behind by Manbun's female offsider. And it wasn't just a little stabbing either, as the sword comes out the centre of his chest (though I didn't recall seeing any actual blood on the blade). I always feel secondhand embarrassment for characters when they say, "This is for [insert name here]..." before they're about to off a bad guy as payback for what they did to another character, but then they themselves get offed (not that I really believe Garret's actually dead dead, of course. I'm guessing he's just mostly dead, but they're going to have a hell of a time explaining how he survived this. I guess MAGIC?). I keep waiting for the bad guy to be like, "What was for that person you mentioned? You dying? Yes, what a gift to them!" or some such. Anyway, this was certainly an unexpected way to begin the episode, and as disappointed as I am that the two villains are still breathing, I'm kind of glad that Garret wasn't the one to end Manbun's life, as Talon should really be the one to have that pleasure (here's hoping she gets to eventually).
Another thing I was slightly disappointed with was seeing Talon's hair had changed since the first season. It's much straighter now and doesn't have things attached to it making it look slightly Jack Sparrow-esque anymore. It's much more simplistic now. Of course, Jessica Green remains gorgeous no matter how her hair looks, but I just kind of liked the 'wildness' from Season 1. It's not a big deal, just something I noticed (though, really, this hairstyle kind of works against the character since she should have scarred ears but they obviously can't be bothered doing the ear makeup every episode and so her ears appear perfectly normal/unscarred). Apparently slack-arse Drag-girl Dragman hasn't been much use in the time that has passed since Season 1, as it appears she's only given Talon one demon's name to summon. A couple of things in this episode reminded me of the first episode of the show. One was the unexpected seemingly fatal blow to a lead character (in the first episode of last season it was Talon, and in this one it was Garret), another was the oddly-placed flashback (here it was a flashback to young Talon with the family that had 'adopted' her after her family/village were massacred), and sadly the third thing this episode had in common with the show's first episode was another poor Remmick bit the dust ( they seem to have it the hardest in this world. You certainly wouldn't want to be reincarnated as one). Though in this instance, young Talon isn't trying to save the Remmick or beat up the ones who killed it...she's the one who kills it (after the boy shoots too early, scaring it off, I held out hope this meant it would get to live...but no such luck. Stop killing Remmicks, show! I don't wish to see them become the Direwolves of this series!). Young Talon appears to be the only one who is a skilled archer...though she looks like she feels bad about it, at least. The father tries to offer her consolation, saying they'll 'remember its life and be grateful' by filling their stomachs with it or whatever...but you know what would be even better? Allowing it to continue living its harmless Remmick life, damn it! .
So, this^ didn't make me overly fond of young Talon, but then when a guy who was a Blackblood like her offed the family (Talon really has no luck with families. I wonder if she'll go for the trifecta? There should be posters put up everywhere with her picture and saying 'DO NOT ADOPT THIS GIRL - SHE'LL GET YOU KILLED!'), she managed to recover some of her coolness points by throwing a knife at him and effectively offing him as easily as she offed the poor Remmick (so much for it getting to be remembered, since those who would've eaten it are now dead. Unless, of course, young Talon decided to eat all of it and sniffled, "I remember you/am grateful to you, Remmick." as she ate the whole thing by herself). The now-dead Blackblood guy wanted her to join him, but I guess he didn't factor in that offing her adoptive family would make her less likely to want to accept his offer. Anyway, it was almost like the show's first episode in that we spent a little bit of time in the 'present' at the beginning and then suddenly went into flashback mode for a while (it hasn't become any less abrupt/intrusive). When we cut back to the 'present', Talon uses the one demon name she's been given to summon it. However, it's not just a demon that steps through the glowing blue portal, but another Blackblood as well. Suffice to say she and Talon don't exactly see eye to eye on account of her wanting the tiny blue glowing light creature inside Talon's head. She gets her demon to knock Talon on her arse and tries to cut it out of her, but that doesn't work. Not a great first impression, new Blackblood lady (whose name is apparently 'Rebb' - though I had to look it up to find that out).
Other less interesting goings on in the episode included Gwynn having outlawed Colipsum but this just leads to even more drug-dealing going on than before which the Mistress (who seemingly replaces adoptive sons with relative ease, since she's already brought in a new one after one died last season) is, of course, involved with and Naya (who was the fool that released Manbun in last season's final because he promised to give her back her mum and sister...and she actually believed him) is constantly whispering in Gwynn's ear, influencing her and such. Disappointingly, Janzo seemed to be back to acting like he did in the first episode of the show (which was when he was at his most annoying). I find him a bit 'too much' when he's like this. He's talking to himself about Talon kissing him in last season's final and even mentions at one point the thought of Garret being out of the picture (little does he know this may be an actual possibility). Rebb takes the demon and Dragman, Talon has a conversation with Gwynn (who believes Talon's pissed that Garret was with her instead of Talon, but it's more she's pissed that Gwynn didn't let her off Manbun when she had the chance. There's also the fact that Gwynn seems to be using Talon, wanting her to summon up a demon army to fight the 'Prime Order' - ie. the main bad guys of the show - and it really feels like what was once a genuine friendship between them has now become Gwynn just thinking of Talon as a 'weapon' she can use to serve her own purposes. She might insist on removing her crown and such, but she still asserts her authority when she wants something), then Talon and Janzo go to meet with Rebb in the hope of getting the Dragman back, but instead Talon just gets knocked on her arse a couple of times by the demon (she gets knocked on her arse by Rebb too at one point). Once again it must be noted that this show avoids having their lead character come across as some expert fighter who never loses - and, in a way, that's admirable. However, if this keeps happening...it'll get old after a while. I'm hoping as the series progresses Talon will end up becoming the character who knocks everyone else on their arses, thereby showing her growth as a fighter.
Later, wimpy soldier comes to tell everyone that all the other non-wimpy soldiers died (that's what you get for being brave!) including Garret. Obviously, everyone's shook up and they react in different ways - Gwynn runs off tearily, Wythers (Garret's dad) beats up the wimpy soldier who delivered the news (because apparently he does believe in killing the messenger), while Talon tries to get drunk (and test whether she has Daenerys Targaryen's immunity to fire). She also wants to go with Wythers to get Garret back, but the difference between them is she believes he isn't dead while his dad thinks he's a rotting corpse by now. After some arguing, he manages to convince her to stay. He also talks to Gwynn about Garret, who they both lost. While I'm still not a fan of Wythers, it was nice to see him consoling Gwynn, and if they have more scenes together like that one, I might be able to tolerate him. This was a decent season premiere, it had some unexpected stuff and it felt as though the show's budget had increased a bit, as I noticed more sweeping shots of landscapes and a bigger 'scope' (like I'd guessed would happen back when watching the first episode of the show and it all seemed rather 'smallish'). The CGI on the demons still isn't the greatest, but it's not the worst CGI ever. I did think Jessica Green seemed more at ease in her role as Talon (which I'd also predicted would happen). So all in all, not a bad start to Season 2.
I don't really have as much to say about the second episode as I did the Season 2 premiere. In this one the other Blackblood, Rebb, still wants the tiny blue glowing light creature inside Talon's head, Talon still wants the Dragman back, Rebb tells Talon about how her people went into the portal willingly and Talon’s clan were supposed to open it but didn’t, she says the prophecy about a Blackblood leading a demon army isn't about Talon and she thinks it's about herself (since she's a 'pureblood' Blackblood or whatever), so she will do the summoning of the demon army/bringing her people through the portal, but Talon's not down with that (though does start to doubt herself). There's the arrival of two new characters - one's Baron Tobin and the other is his most trusted council, Gertrusha (yes, that's apparently a name). Out of the two, the latter's probably the less annoying one, as it turns out she's the sister of the Mistress and between them 'Gerty' (as her sister calls her) isn't that bad. She's much more tolerable than the Misstress (whose name we learn is Elinor).
Tobin, though, is a cocky sonofabitch who amusingly has a conversation with Gwynn as he's outside the wall and she's up on the top of it (it would've been even funnier if they'd been shouting the whole time, but somehow they manage to hear each other over such a considerable distance even though they're only talking slightly louder than normal), then later he comes right out and asks Gwynn to marry him (whilst at the same time coming onto Naya who's standing right there next to Gwynn) and says how they'll be free to have other lovers even after they're married, he just wants a son from her. About the only entertaining part of this scene was Gwynn's wide-eyed reaction to all the stuff Tobin had the gall to say. It felt like they were going for a Jack Harkness from Doctor Who/Torchwood type of thing with him seemingly ready to shag anyone/anything, as he didn't just show an interest in Gwynn and Naya, but Elinor and Talon as well - that last one being his BIG mistake, as he didn't know what he was getting himself into when he tried coming onto her. She was already dealing with enough shit, and then him being a jerk to Janzo and knocking him down was the last straw. I was SO glad to see Talon give Tobin a well-deserved arse-whooping (after once again being knocked on her arse by Rebb earlier) - let's have more of this, please!
Before this^, though, Gwynn had tasked Naya with turning Janzo into someone who Talon would be more interested in. It was basically like the scene out of Not Another Teen Movie where Mia Kirshner's character removes Janey Briggs' glasses and undoes her ponytail...only here Naya gives Janzo better hair and makes him stand up straight (that's pretty much it) and voilà! He suddenly looks like a different person. Kudos to the actor who plays Janzo, as he's clearly had this whole Clark Kent/Superman thing going on all this time. I was amused when one of Elinor's 'sons' (Munt) nearly got the fright of his life when he saw how different Janzo looked. Just as funny, though, was Talon simply giving Janzo a once-over and then going about business as usual. I was glad we got a Talon/Gwynn scene when they were playing cards together earlier, but clearly Talon was so over whatever Gwynn's trying to sell (and this attempt by Gwynn to have Naya turn Janzo into someone Talon would be interested in seems pretty sketchy to me. Like, somehow I don't think her motives are pure), then later Gwynn gets drunk and Janzo has a concoction that is the fastest-acting hangover cure EVER (it literally works in seconds!). The episode ends with Wythers arriving at the place where he expects to retrieve Garret's corpse, but instead finds just blood and his son's sword, then yells out for him...when he's clearly not there. What was he expecting, for Garret to just stumble out from around the corner and say, "What took you so long?".
The third episode had a bit more going on in it, as Manbun went to visit three grey Pope-looking folk who are imaginatively called 'The Three' (hey, that reminds me of the vampire trio also called 'The Three' from BtVS...though these guys are even less imaginative, since their actual names in the credits at the end of the episode are 'One', 'Two' and 'Three'. There are so many potential jokes to be had at their expense. Did anyone ever ask if 'One' and 'Two' made 'Three'?). They naturally have to sit up on some high mantel (as ones in charge often do) and I thought I was losing my mind for a moment, because one second they'd appear to have full bodies, and then the next it would look like they were just upper torsos - it was really weird. I guess it was just a trick of the camera angles...but I think they would've been more interesting if they were talking half-torsos. One good thing about them is that they appear to have tiny red glowing light creatures in their heads (instead of Talon's tiny blue glowing light creature) that cause someone pain and Manbun winds up being on the receiving end of this pain they inflict. Anything that makes Manbun suffer is okay in my book. They sentence him to imprisonment in a teen tiny cell he won't even be able to lie down in. What about sitting? If he's stuck in a ninety-degree angle for a long period of time, I hope when he inevitably gets released he's at least stuck in a bent-over position.
Before the fun of watching Manbun suffer, though, he brings in Garret who is still only mostly dead and then he's dragged away. Not sure how someone who got a sword through the centre of his chest is stillbreathing, but there's a healer woman named Sana who seems to have the magic touch which prevents him from dying. She also tells him that she had a hubby who was killed by a Blackblood and she wants revenge against them - though from her pretty basic description, the Blackblood could've been either Talon or Rebb. She then comes to Garret's rescue several times as he's dragged off and thrown in a cell to have the crap kicked out of him by a big hulking guy called 'the Tormenter' (really, the folks at this place have to be the least-creative name-thinker-upperers ever) and tells him that she sent word of him being alive to Gwynn, but she just sent word back saying Garret's already been replaced - which, thankfully, he's smart enough to not believe, but the fact that Sana reckons she's already fallen in love with him and kisses him makes me worry he's going to buy into her BS and want to do whatever it is the Grey Popes want him for. Then at the end, as if to prove that she's nothing but a LYING LIAR WHO LIES, it's revealed that her hubby is very much alive and he turns out to be the Tormenter, as she holds hands with him. It appears the Grey Popes' have different tiny glowing light creatures in their heads, and while there was a red one which caused pain, there's also a green one which heals Garret (so he did come back from death thanks to MAGIC like I predicted he would after all). What else is going on this episode? Well, Rebb still wants the tiny blue glowing light creature inside Talon's head (sing us another tune, Rebb!), while Gwynn wants Talon to summon the demon army and they lie in bed together, holding hands...
Seriously, show, DO something with this relationship and quit teasing it! Talon meets with Rebb, she agrees to give her the tiny blue glowing light creature inside her head in exchange for the Dragman, then starts to transfer the little critter to Rebb until she sees the Dragman shake her head and then puts a knife to Rebb's throat instead. Talon pays Rebb back for all the times she knocked her on her arse by knocking her out with a whack to the head. Too bad Talon didn't take care of her in a more permanent way, since she obviously regains consciousness and then goes to Gwynn, tells her how Talon isn't the one from the prophecy and offers to call the demon army for her like she'd wanted Talon to do. While this is happening, Talon and Janzo are working with the Dragman to get names of demons...which they write down on individual pieces of paper and leave out for anyone to find, so then (naturally) Rebb comes to take them and kills the Dragman in the process. It's almost comical the lengths this show goes to in an effort to obscure a child character being murdered, as Janzo's Plaguelings he keeps in cages block out the actual act of Rebb stabbing the Dragman, then later when Talon finds her, she's wrapped up in a blanket (which earlier Janzo used to hide her from Naya) and it's like they don't actually want to show a dead child character in the show (didn't we see dead ones when both families Talon lived with were offed?). Maybe it was just a case of them not having the Dragman actress available to play her character's corpse...but still, they could've gotten a body double or something, because it just looks like Talon's holding a sack in her arms and it's very awkward. Though Janzo's a good friend and even offers to bury the dead Dragman for Talon since she's had enough of burying people she knows.
Unfortunately for Janzo, he's been getting bad advice from Naya (thanks to Gwynn's persistence in trying to get Talon and Janzo together) and at one point she tells him to practice what he'd say to Talon on her, he eventually finds things to compliment Talon on like her hair, but it's her eyes that he gets all poetic about...which Naya seems to get into, but he's all like, "Yeah, your eyes are fine, Naya, but they don't hold a candle to Talon's!". Then when he tries to complement Naya's eyes, he compares them to the brown of crushed dung beetles. After practicing on Naya, he later tries it out for real on Talon, and while they have a nice moment of just sitting together and holding hands, the whole poetic-eye-complimenting thing only elicits amusement from Talon. Now, one could view this on the surface as her being an inconsiderate/mean bitch...but as Naya tells Janzo later on when he's upset and storming off, it was probably more of a nervous laugh from Talon and that was her way of dealing with the compliment. On the one hand, she could be lying again, but on the other...I don't think Talon is actually nasty enough to intentionally hurt Janzo's feelings. Anyway, Naya then says he should kiss Talon and before he's able to, they discover that the Dragman's last useful act was to keep one demon name on a piece of paper in her hand (how the hell did Rebb not notice this when she was stabbing her to death?). Janzo thinks Talon should use the name and call forth the demon it belongs to, but Talon is suspicious that the name may have been purposely left behind by Rebb and it's actually one of her demon buddies' names - which would be bad.
In the fourth episode, Janzo was still taking Naya's bad advice about changing himself in the hope that'd make Talon take an interest in him. When he was messing with his hair and Talon brushed it back down to how it normally was, it reminded me of the difference between 'laid-back Jim' and 'cool hip Jim' from American Pie (1999). Speaking of hair, I noticed Talon's wasn't as straight as it had been so far this season and now had some its old waviness to it. Unfortunately, despite Talon reassuring Janzo that he need not change anything about himself, he still persists in kissing her and he was lucky all she did was shove him away (it was somewhat amusing later on how Gwynn responded to learning about Naya's advice to Janzo about kissing Talon, as she reckoned he'd probably wind up with a fat lip or broken arm). He then asks whether she might start to feel something for him in, like, "10 or 20 moons" and she's all, "Maybe 30 or 40.", which gives him hope.
Poor Janzo. Talon tried to let him down easy, saying that if she did feel the feelings for him he wants her too, she'd be the luckiest person...but he really shouldn't be hanging around waiting for her feelings to maybe possibly change in the future. Of course, Naya's not helping things (plus there's the added complication of her clearly having a thing for Janzo as she tries to hook him up with Talon. That might be why every piece of advice she's given him has backfired - because she doesn't actually want him hooking up with Talon, so she's getting him to do the complete opposite of everything he should be doing). Thankfully, it's not just all relationship stuff taking up this episode. There are actual important things going on such as Rebb taking Gwynn hostage, Janzo telling Talon she should use the one name the now-dead Dragman gave her to summon a demon to fight Rebb, but at the same time he doesn't sound so sure about it (I liked the fact that she called him out on his wishy-washiness regarding what he was saying she should do), but then after she learns that Rebb's going to start playing 'This Little Piggy' with Gwynn's toes and sending them to her, Talon elects to do the demon-summoning.
Of course, not only does a demon step through the portal, but also another Blackblood along with it (at this point her voiceover recapping the show's basic premise needs to lose the "I'm the last Blackblood...or so I've been told." part and update it with "I'm FAR from the last Blackblood. Turns out there's a crapload more in another dimension and I ain't so special."). His name is Zed, he argues with Talon, as he has no incentive to lend her his demon who might die fighting Rebb's demon, Talon reckons she can't trust him and that if he does this, he'll have her trust, and the funniest part of their whole exchange was at the beginning of it when he asked about the points of her ears and she exclaimed she was sick of explaining about them. Meanwhile, Rebb's trying to get Gwynn to choose which toe she wants to lose first, but luckily for her she doesn't have to make that choice because...oh...it's just a drunken Tobin to the rescue. Towards the start of the episode, he'd thought the best present to give Gwynn was some lingerie, but naturally this didn't go over well with her (he then asked Naya if she wanted it), and there's one mildly amusing moment where he wonders if seeing Rebb's demon is a result of his drunkeness or not, before having his arse handed to him by said demon and then hilariously getting picked up and tossed out the window.
Eventually Talon arrives and Zed lent her his demon whistle ring to call it...except when she tries it, no demon appears. So she and Rebb have a stand-off, with Talon saying once again that she'll give her the tiny blue glowing light creature inside her head in exchange for Gwynn being set free, Rebb only allows Gwynn to go part of the way, then gets Talon to drop not only her sword but also onto her knees, then finally the other demon answers Talon's call, showing up to fight Rebb's demon, they both go out the window and I thought they might've been dead (that would've been a rather lame death for two big bad demons), but then when Rebb's demon tries to get at Talon through the window, Zed shoots it with a big crossbow and Talon manages to stab Rebb in the back when she lunges for her. Talon's final words to her are about how she may not be the Blackblood in the prophecy...but neither is Rebb (on account of her now being dead). Apparently Zed's demon did survive and he's sent it out to go hunting in the woods (though not for humans), Talon tells him to cover/hide his ears, then takes him to the inn. Speaking of, there's been a yawn-worthy storyline going on this episode involving Elinor and her sister, and I can't stand Elinor since she treats both Janzo and her other 'son', Munt, like crap (even insulting what the latter's wearing even though she probably put him up to it). I think it's something about wanting respect, and trying to impress her sister or whatever. Honestly, I didn't care.
Garret's storyline isn't much better, since he's stuck in a cell nearby where Manbun is being held, who tells him the same thing that everyone else at the place they've being kept at has been telling him - ie. Gwynn's a 'false Queen' and the real one died. Garret's response to this remains "Nope!", but Manbun says the real Queen had a misshapen face (we later learn he told Garret this in exchange for receiving a larger cell and thus he gets Garret's cell. On the plus side, he still gets beaten up by the Tormenter for his trouble, and any pain inflicted upon Manbun is a good thing as far as I'm concerned). Garret not only doesn't believe this, but he also doesn't believe what Sana told him about Gwynn sending a letter back that said "Garret who? He's been replaced already!", so he asks for evidence of it and she goes to the guy who's been forging this made-up letter...which, considering he's only just finished it, should still have wet ink on it, but she presents it to Garret and he (disappointingly) takes it at face value. He feels betrayed by Gwynn and then later is stuck in a room where he pulls at the plaster on the wall to reveal a painting of the royal family which backs up Manbun's story since it depicts the young Queen with a misshapen face. These rather transparent attempts to get him to turn on Gwynn and everyone else appear to work, as he seems to buy all of it. Then again, he's been receiving red 'medicine' from Sana and that's probably causing him to be the highly suggestable type.
In the fifth episode, Talon and Gwynn talk, Talon glances at Gwynn's chest at least once, Gwynn wants her to send Zed and his demon back through the portal as she regards demons as 'monsters' after seeing them fight, Talon doesn't take too kindly to Gwynn trash-talking her people and their demons, saying she should learn their names, before exiting with a sarcastic bow that is basically an "F.U." to Gwynn. Dang it, guys, don't fight...go back to hanging out in bed together!
Janzo seems to be back to looking like his old self again (his hair, posture, etc) and has had enough of Naya’s advice, tells her about kissing Talon and how she said maybe in 30 or 40 moons she might love him (it was funny how Naya was shocked to learn he survived the kiss with Talon, after what Gwynn had told her last episode about how he'd be lucky to escape with just a fat lip/broken arm), he wonders why all women see him as just a 'friend', but then she gets him to show her how he kissed Talon, and I guess now she's trying to make it clear to Janzo how she feels about him (though stupidly leans against the cell bars where a Plagueling is being kept and almost gets herself bitten/stung), but he's either not getting it or simply ignoring it, still focused on Talon...who is spending time with Zed, who's ticked off that he can't go visit his demon and is blocked by guards.
Wythers reunites with his son (I keep wondering why Garret calls his father by his name), they're both happy to see each other, but that only lasts a moment because Garret (who's still taking his red 'medicine') refuses to return with Wythers back to the outpost after all the stuff Sana has told him (ie. lied to him about), then he calls guards on his father who is thrown in prison and chats with Manbun, then by the end of the episode he's told by the Grey Popes to kill his father to show his loyalty to them...which he does (though since Garret himself survived a sword sticking out of his chest, I'm not sure if Wythers is dead dead or just mostly dead). He's also apparently going to be referred to now as the 'Blade Of The Three'. Lastly, and most boringly, Elinor's sister tells Tobin to clean up his act - which he does in the hope of being able to win over Gwynn.
The sixth episode's title, 'Because She's Worth It', immediately made me think of the L'Oréal commercial slogan (too bad it wasn't an episode about Talon's hair and how it's been changing from wild to straight to wavy, etc - that might've been more interesting than what we got). Instead, Zed's demon has been killing livestock, Gwynn wants it dead, Talon says Gwynn should let her send it back through the portal rather than kill it (I appreciate that Talon always refers to the demon by name - which is 'Vikka' - as it shows that she no longer thinks of them as simply 'monsters' like Gwynn does), but Gwynn wants Zed gone too, though Talon ain't down with that, as he's helping her to figure out Blackblood-related stuff and whatnot (I think at one point he mentions the ancient USB she has is only part of the 'key' and they need to find the rest of it). I was glad that Talon was trying to keep Vikka alive (she's come a long way since sending her demon to his death when he saved her and her friends from Greyskins last season), and she tells Zed exactly that, but he doesn't want to send his demon back to the 'Plane of Ashes' (which is the world on the other side of the portal). To be fair, it doesn't sound very inviting, so I can understand Zed not wanting to go back there nor send Vikka back there either. I also don't blame Talon for taking offence at how Gwynn talks about the Blackbloods. It's a shame she's so close-minded about them, since not only did Vikka and Zed save her life, but Talon has saved her numerous times as well. Anyway, Zed tells Talon he can control Vikka but eventually she manages to convince him to use his demon whistle ring to send Vikka back through the portal - though he doesn't want to go at first and Zed has to be forceful and yell at him to go. Although he's sending him away away his own safety, it's still a sad moment , but I was just glad Vikka got to live.
Apparently Janzo and Naya are now fully 'together', though I was amused by him shoving her aside when Talon appeared. He wants to go with Talon, but she wants him to stay, and all the while Naya is clearly jealous of Talon/the way Janzo feels about her (which isn't helped when Talon gives him a peck on the cheek before leaving). Meanwhile, Tobin proves to be not entirely useless/hopeless, as he cottons onto the fact that Naya is possibly the Prime Order's spy after she spills the drink she's serving onto him when he's having a meal with Gwynn and says they should kill whoever the bastard is (in reference to the spy). He then starts spying on her when she receives mail. This might actually be a halfway decent plotline for him, as I care more about someone finally figuring out Naya's up to no good more than I do about some feud he has with his cousin about taking over his lands (but Gwynn needs his cousin because he has an army). I thought it was ridiculous that Elinor, who started out as the 'Mistress' of the inn, is now seated at the right hand of Gwynn's throne. It seems she's moved WAY up in the hierarchy and I'm not even sure why/how this even happened. The fact that I don't like her character just adds to my annoyance that she's doing so well for herself all of a sudden. Also annoying was the fact that Janzo seemed way too casual whilst tying up Plaguelings out in the sun to test a theory about curing them. Like, they could've bitten/stung him at any point, but he didn't seem too concerned. Talon and Zed go into the woods, she makes a remark about him needing his demon for everything, then goes off to shoot a poor squirrel but thankfully it's saved due to her being distracted by seeing a soldier riding by on horseback...who turns out to be Garret. It would've been mildly amusing if she'd shot him (she'd have an 'out', as everyone already thought he was dead) and it probably would've been for the better too, considering what comes next. They have a happy reunion...that is until he pulls out a knife and stabs her in the side - so, YET AGAIN Talon gets stabbed. I've lost count of how many times this has happened now. Invest in armour, Talon! I see she does have some, though only on her arms and legs, when it's her torso that she needs to protect!
The seventh episode picks up right where the sixth left off, with Garret having stabbed Talon. She basically says "Garret, WTF?!" and manages to put up a half-decent fight despite having just been stabbed (hey, maybe it's happened so often by now that she's developed an immunity to it?), that is until he breaks her sword and then the tiny blue glowing light creature inside her head lights up and creates a portal. Given a choice between getting killed by Garret or the Plane of Ashes, she chooses the latter and dives through. We finally get to see the place...which more or less lives up to its name. I thought we were going to spend the episode seeing what Talon got up to there, which would've been far more interesting to what we actually got, which ended up being lame 'comedy' from Janzo and Munt, as they pondered why only the woman Plagueling was cured after being tied up in the sun but the men weren't, they don’t seem to care that the creature is out on the grass near them (like, I was expecting it to not be entirely dead and to bite/sting them - which they would've richly deserved for being so careless), and then Janzo talks about a date he wants to set up with Naya. This leads to Munt trying to kidnap her, but she makes him stop and says she'll go willingly...though he finishes off his kidnapping of her anyway. Janzo has a nice dinner set up for her, but she’s feeling guilty and he can tell something's wrong. Then after he's said nothing she tells him could change his feelings about her, she confesses to being the Prime Order spy and he can't believe it, she explains how Manbun had her mum and sister, then Janzo points out others had families too plus the fact that only a fool would've believed Manbun would keep his word about letting her mum and sister go if she did what he wanted (plus, they're probably already dead). While I totally understand Janzo's reaction to what Naya confessed, it's kind of funny how he reacted completely different to how he said he would when he was encouraging her to tell him what she'd done.
Anyway, he wants Naya to tell Gwynn, she thinks the Queen will have her head, while he thinks Gwynn would be merciful. He eventually gives her an ultimatum - either she tells Gwynn what she did or he will. In the end, though, neither of them have a chance to because one of Tobin's goons he had following Naya saw her rip up a letter she'd received which proved her correspondence with the Prime Order (you brought this on yourself, Naya, by ripping the note up after leaving Janzo's lab and then dropping the pieces AT YOUR FEET. Like, maybe dispose of them elsewhere or burn the pieces or something) and has pieced the torn up letter back together (not sure how exactly), then they take her to Gwynn who naturally feels betrayed and she's all "Off with her head!", but Elinor (I still find it ridiculous that she's become the Queen's advisor and sits beside her throne when she was simply the owner of the inn not too long ago) wonders what the rush is and says they can pump Naya for information, which manages to convince Gwynn to keep her alive for a little longer and just have her imprisoned for the time being. Tobin’s cousin shows up and he's even less interesting/tolerable than Tobin is, they're still fighting about land, but Gwynn's so determined to have his army that she says she'll give Tobin's cousin all of Tobin's land. Tobin is like, "WTH?"...that is until Gwynn says he won't need land since he'll be married to a Queen and this is her way of accepting his marriage proposal. Gwynn’s new handmaiden sucks at doing her hair, she tries to do it herself, Janzo comes in and begs for Naya’s life to be spared, she refuses, Elinor comes in (Gwynn must have the most relaxed security ever, when people can just wander into her chambers unannounced), Janzo then begs her to convince Gwynn, she’s as useless as always (it's weird that she's all for Naya being executed when before it seemed like she was coming up with an excuse to spare Naya by convincing Gwynn to keep her alive for a while longer. I guess there were no ulterior motives and she really did just think Naya should be kept alive for information until they got what they needed from her) and then Janzo gets all upset and is like, "I don't even know who you are anymore!" (that's odd, since to me she seems like the same person she's been since the very first episode).
So, after failed attempts to have Naya's life spared, Janzo takes it upon himself to save her by drugging the guards with ale and written promises of free drinks at the inn for a year (which should've immediately set off alarm bells, but they seem to buy it), then setting her free and saying she must promise to never return. He mentions how it's just his luck that he'd finally find the woman for him and she has to go away (though if you were being cynical, you could almost look at this as being a convenient way he can get Naya out of the picture without hurting her feelings and then continue his pursuit of Talon...but I don't think he'd be capable of doing something like that). Gwynn is about to wed Tobin when not-dead Garret crashes the wedding and Gwynn immediately ditches her hubby-to-be, riding off with Garret who she should be immediately suspicious of when he says that she knew he was alive but just didn't care (referencing the letter that was supposedly sent by her, but was in fact forged). Since she's behind him on the horse, she could've grabbed his sword and knocked him out using the hilt of it or shoved him off the horse or something. Instead she just continues riding along with him and not doing anything to escape the clearly-not-himself Garret. I was very disappointed that we spent so little time with Talon in the Plane of Ashes. We see her accosted by three masked Blackbloods, she knocks one down and goes back through the portal, tells Zed what happened (he hasn't been much use, just hanging out waiting for her to return), they argue about going back to warn Gwynn about Garret, then Talon leaves and Zed follows (half-arsedly putting out his fire). This could've been an interesting episode if it'd focused on Talon, but instead she was hardly featured - which was massively disappointing since she's the character I care the most about and without her I don't think I'd really be that into this show. It's like they had this really intriguing idea (Talon in the Plane of Ashes) and decided to focus on everything but that. Very frustrating.
In the eighth episode, Garret takes Gwynn to where there's soldiers waiting, she didn’t bother trying to knock him out/shove him off the horse or anything like I'd hoped she would, Tobin gets drunk after being dumped at the altar, Talon returns, Janzo lets her in on the big news - Garret’s ALIVE (which, of course, she already knows on account of him stabbing her), then he’s amusingly sarcastic about how everyone's so happy/glad that Garret’s back and not-dead. After Talon fills them in on Garret now being the Prime Order's bitch, Janzo wants to go after Garret with her, so does Tobin, but she says she works better alone...then wants Zed to come along, but he refuses. Janzo reckons flowers have an effect on the Plaguelings he's tied up out in the sun and at least one former Plagueling gets freed. Tobin ends up joining Talon after Janzo uses his fastest-acting hangover cure EVER on him, they fight Garret and his men, Talon does some fancy moves and then uses a sleeper hold on Garret (it was weird hearing Gwynn ask Talon if she was trying to kill him, sounding concerned for his welfare after he'd just tried to kill her and was trying to also kill Talon). Meanwhile, Tobin gets shot with three arrows in his upper torso and one in his leg (the guy shooting the arrows at Tobin took his sweet time with shooting a final - and what would've presumably been a fatal - arrow, then got a knife thrown at his back as the consequence of taking so long), it's up to Talon and Gwynn to save him, Gwynn's not much use, but Talon ponders "What would Janzo do?", then cauterises the wound with a hot knife as Gwynn holds Tobin. I was amused when Garret (who'd had his unconscious self slumped over the back of a horse), started regaining consciousness and Talon had to interrupt her helping Tobin to walk over and re-knock out Garret once again, before returned to helping Tobin. And nice job, director of this episode, for the shot of Talon getting off the horse once they return to the outpost.
They lock Garret up (not sure how they didn't find his 'medicine' he regularly takes that keeps him highly suggestible/compliant to the Prime Order, as one presumes they should've frisked him before sticking him in a cell), Janzo compliments Talon and Gwynn on their job of ensuring Tobin didn't bleed out, Tobin's pretty quick to forgive Gwynn for ditching him on their wedding day to run off with Garret (who it turned out was crazy and wanted to kill her) after she admits to being stupid, selfish and unworthy of his rescue. She then finds out Naya escaped and even says to Janzo what I was thinking myself when he freed her last episode - who else would it have been? It's not like there was a long list of suspects who would've aided her. She commands Janzo to find a cure to the Plaguelings (what does she think he's been trying to do all this time?), get Garret back to normal and something else I can't remember, then she says she's going to think of a sentence/punishment for him (which is rather rude considering everything he's done to help her thus far). Talon's more understanding in regards to Janzo helping Naya escape, then the episode ends with her going to Zed and them heading off to wherever. There were two amusing moments earlier in the episode: one being when Garret pretended he was sorry and Talon pulled his head into the cell bars (saying that was for Gwynn), then poked him (saying that was for her). The other was when Janzo, sick of hearing Garret go on about Gwynn being the 'false Queen' or whatever, wrote something down for Garret to read and that was his way of telling him to STFU (complete with smiley face, which made it even more amusing).
Disappointingly, the ninth episode was another one with barely any Talon in it (which is really weird for a show where she's supposed to be the lead character. This has got to be one of the only shows I know of where the lead actress is featured so little, which is annoying since she is the main reason I'm watching). She’s just in the woods with Zed, they see a Bone Wolf carrying a baby, Zed kills poor wolfie who was just hungry (firstly, why is it just carrying the baby away and not simply chowing down? And secondly, maybe it found the kid abandoned in the woods and was going to raise it as its own - you ever think about that, Zed?), the kid's mother thanks Zed, but the father looks afraid of him and after the couple run off, Talon says as much to Zed, who asks about Talon opening the portal to let his demon, Vikka, return but she says no and he replies that it was worth a try. They talk about her cutting the tips off her ears and she touches his ear tips, which I guess is a turn-on because it looks like they eventually screw, then they find the other part of the key, join it with the ancient USB, it glows blue and Zed apparently has no idea what it’s doing.
Meanwhile, Janzo's trying to get Garret back to normal and threatens to sting him with a Plagueling parasite when he's had enough of him, but Garret calls his bluff (knowing Janzo wouldn't do such a thing) and Janzo concedes that he wouldn't...so he gets Munt to punch him instead. Speaking of Munt, there's a cheap visual joke of his large self riding off on a little donkey later on that was obviously intended to be 'hilarious' but, honestly, anything to do with him or Elinor (who sent her sister packing this episode, which sucks since I preferred her to Elinor) alternates between annoying and boring me. An incompetent guard, who is on duty and meant to be watching over Garret, falls asleep and this gives Garret the opportunity to remove his shirt (which is totally just for plot purposes and no other reason), as he uses it on his cell bars along with something else he uses to twist it around with the intention of bending the bars, but then Janzo comes in, gives the incompetent guard an earful for being so useless and informs Garret that his shirt is no match for the cell bars (though I was sure I saw one slightly move). Janzo finally manages to find the 'medicine' Garret's been taking and throws it in the fire - which is pretty much the only smart thing he does this episode, because he hasn't learned his lesson about incompetent guards on guarding duty, as later on another incompetent guard is asleep and this time Garret succeeds in his escape. This wasn't an overly interesting episode (and I blame that on Talon being separated from all the characters at the outpost).
Thankfully, the tenth episode's a bit more interesting. After Garret's escaped, thanks to the only guards available for guard duty being the useless/sleepy variety, he sneaks into Gwynn's room and is about to stab her with a sword (seriously, WORST GUARDS EVER. Gwynn should totally off all those guards who nearly let their Queen be murdered the first chance she gets), but he suddenly remembers their previous interactions and although he tries, he can't bring himself to off her (obviously not-taking his 'medicine', which Janzo threw in the fire last episode, has helped curb his murderous intent), then he finds a family picture that's like the painting he saw when he was imprisoned by the Prime Order except in it her face appears normal, which makes him realise the misshapen face painting was a trick. She eventually wakes up and asks him what he's up to, he admits he was about to skewer her and he feels really bad about it...so now he's going to skewer himself. She manages to convince him not to do that, then once he's moved on from feeling suicidal he naturally wants revenge on those who turned him into an assassin, Gwynn wants him to stay, at one point he mentions that he offed his father (who I guess *is* dead dead?), they keep arguing about it until episode's end when he finally does leave, but not before seeing Gwynn and Tobin holding hands (maybe he'll off Tobin and be all, "Oops. I guess I wasn't fully cured after all."?).
Speaking of Tobin, his cousin's army is something they now need to defeat (I haven't really been paying much attention to that whole plotline) and Janzo comes up with the brilliant plan of releasing all the Plaguelings he's been keeping to do experiments on so they can bite/sting the army (as he's confirmed most of the army are likely taking Colipsum - which is the secret ingredient one needs to become a Plagueling along with being bitten/stung by one), but since he is close to finding a cure...it'll all be FINE (maybe) and they won't be Plaguelings for long (hopefully). They do exactly this, but Tobin's cousin ends up a Plagueling and Tobin's forced to stab him in the mouth so that he doesn't get bitten/stung himself (I always wonder how they manage to stab this parasite that's flailing about and NOT get bitten/stung by them). Elinor also gets bitten/stung (which is her own stupid fault for not paying attention to where she was standing), and how I wish this would mean the end of her, but I'm sure she'll be cured. Though apparently Janzo still has a little ways to go before finding a working cure since one he tried earlier just killed the guy (he talks to a couple of former Plaguelings and discovers their diet may be the key to why the cure worked on them and not others). Speaking of cures, Janzo was mildly amusing with his reactions to 'cured' Garret, since he sees him roaming free and freaks out, but Garret reassures him that he won't harm him...though when Janzo keeps talking too much Garret does exactly what he said he wouldn't, grabbing Janzo's arm roughly (though he apologises for it), so clearly he's not fully cured. Naya, meanwhile, goes to talk to Manbun about freeing her mum and sister, but he reveals the thing everyone but Naya knew - that they're already dead, so then she stabs him (hopefully he's dead dead).
Even though it still feels like Talon isn't in nearly enough of the episode, at least it seemed as though there was more of her this episode than the previous one (plus, we got to see her with her snazzy green hood up, which it seems rarely ever happens). After they've slept together, she and Zed go to use the key/ancient USB, it looks like there's nothing there, but then Talon spots something (just as well Zed had her with him, otherwise it seemed like he would've given up pretty easily), there's a tiny green bug that bites him and then it disintegrates and he now has a tiny purple glowing light creature inside him just like Talon has a blue one. He says he doesn’t know what it does, but later when he goes to answer the call of nature he finds some soldiers around a campfire and mentally tells one of them to stick his hand in the fire. When he returns to Talon, he sees she's about to be crushed with a rock courtesy of a Greyskin who's stumbled across her. Zed mind-controls it into staying still while Talon kills it, she then wants to know what that was all about but Zed won't tell her he has this power. However, later on after he continues to pester Talon about opening the portal and she still refuses, Zed resorts to trying to mind-control her into doing it but she isn't affected since she has a tiny blue glowing light creature of her own which protects her, though now she knows what power Zed's has given him and due to his betrayal, she fights him. He cuts her, but she finally gives him what he's wanted all this time - ie. the portal reopened...except instead of bringing anyone through it, she kicks Zed into it before it closes. Once again she finds herself bleeding. It's a shame Zed turned out to be no good, as I actually didn't mind him with Talon.
The eleventh episode begins with wounded Talon walking over to a tree to sit down after her fight with Zed, but she doesn't even get to rest for a minute before soldiers turn up and question her. She tries to act like she was just taking a break but they see her bleeding black blood (do a better job of covering up your wounds, Talon) and then give her the rest she was longing for by knocking her out. When she awakens, Garret has appeared and she thinks he's still the jerk who stabbed her last time she saw him. Well, he's still a jerk, but this time he wants to help her out. He pulls out the "I'm the Blade Of The Three." card to get the soldiers to let him stick around and the one he talks to says they're going to get all the glory for taking Talon to the Prime Order together. However, when they stop to camp, Garret is tasked with interrogating Talon not with words, but with a knife. Then follows an amusing sequence with Garret surreptitiously cutting her ropes and explaining that he's cured whilst pretending to torture her for information. What makes it so funny is Talon clearly doesn't know the right level for pretending she's being tortured and goes over-the-top after Garret complained she wasn't pretending enough, then she gets even more annoyed with him than she already was and demands he make up his mind (which I can totally understand). It's not very often we get to see Talon being funny, and what I liked about it was that they didn't go overboard with annoying music or whatever to beat you over the head with the fact that this is supposed to be FUNNY (like they sometimes do with Janzo, Elinor or Munt). Here it was just played 'straight', but I personally found it pretty amusing. I also loved that because she was still mad, Talon decided to criticise Garret's abilities with a knife vs a sword (ie. he sucks with the former and is better with the latter). Eventually, the soldier who tasked Garret with torturing Talon realises something's up, but by then Garret has freed her and they both fight the soldiers, saving each other in the process.
Nothing else in this episode was quite as entertaining for me as that^ scene. It's good to have Garret back to being his non-assassiny self (though now he's on a mission to go make the Prime Order pay for forcing him to off his father and try to kill Talon/Gwynn. I worried about the two horses they just left as they went off in a boat, but hopefully they were safe). Someone else who seemed to return to their 'old' self was Janzo, who was acting much more like how he did in the first episode of the show once again and I'm not really fond of him when he's all over-the-top like this, as he shouts/yells a lot and laughs like a crazy person and is just TOO MUCH. I prefer subtler Janzo. Anyway, on the plus side he at least called out his 'mum' for the crap way she's treated him all his life, but then unfortunately we were subjected to a long drawn-out boring story about how he once got sick but wouldn't give up finding a cure and then eventually discovered it was horse manure which he covered himself in and supposedly the reason Elinor kept him around was because of his brilliance. So? What does she want, a medal? Just because she thought he could be of use to her? I know this scene was supposed to be a heartfelt one or whatever between 'mother' and 'son', but Elinor has proven time and time again all she really cares about is herself and she's constantly treating Janzo terribly, then will change her tune when he does something that can be of benefit to her, but will turn on a dime and be back to insulting him whenever he does something that displeases her. Speaking of displeasing her, he's led Gwynn to Elinor's stash of Colipsum she's been making (despite Gwynn outlawing it) and all the profits from it, then when he tells her this, she's halfway through insulting him before he reminds her that if she wants to be cured from being a Plagueling/let out of her cell, she best not insult him again. Honestly, I was really hoping Elinor would bite the dust, but I know I'm not that lucky.
Janzo's doing his best to discover what the cure is, trying different things, then goes outside to where he tied the Plaguelings up and there's an insect called a 'sting-fly' buzzing about, he gets stung (I think), then he remembers the ex-Plaguelings he questioned in a previous episode were scratching large lumps on their bodies and that's when he works it out, then he proceeds to go stick a sack over Elinor's head with sting-flies in it, she gets stung and has huge bites all over her face (which aren't fun to look at, but anything that causes her discomfort is fine by me), he has to go find more and they only sleep at nighttime (I could totally relate to him going on about how them sleeping during the day would make things too easy, since I often say the same thing to myself - that something has to OF COURSE be difficult and couldn't be easy, could it?). Anyway, he finds a nest, climbs a tree, cuts down the nest, falls from the tree (and is miraculously okay), then a horde of Plaguelings turn up and he breaks the nest to free the sting-flies. Next time we see him, he's covered in the huge nasty-looking bites but seems joyful, as it means now Gwynn has more people on her side (though these ex-Plaguelings he brings back with him don't look as though they'd be much use in a fight). However, Gwynn's still holding a grudge against him and has him locked up next to Elinor (who's now cured) and she's her usual unpleasant self to him, which is really rough for poor Janzo who's just basically saved everyone from becoming Plaguelings.
Of course, part of the reason Gwynn hasn't eased up on her punishment of Janzo is because she's dealing with some dweeb who's turned up claiming to be her brother, she says he died but he reckons he survived the same way she did (ie. with swapsies!), so she tests him, asking questions only her bro would know the answer to, which he manages to answer, plus he's also got their father's cane, and despite Tobin's suspicions, she gives clearly-fake-bro a chance. When they were reminiscing about having tied a fork to the tail of their gardener's cat, I thought, "Wow...you were really awful little shits.", and they're not much better in the 'present' since Gwynn allows clearly-fake-bro to sit beside her throne and actually have input on her decision-making when it comes to Janzo (after clearly-fake-bro referred to Janzo as a 'little man' I thought, "You're one to talk, you little shit!" since Janzo's taller than he is). The one funny part was Janzo exclaiming "WHO is this?!" in reference to the annoying turd. The episode ends with the Prime Order testing out a weapon (which is a bomb) and Naya (who has been hovering around during the episode, but I can't remember what she did for most of it) is watching the weapon demonstration from afar. At the same time, Talon and Garret are pretending to be getting married and want to get inside the gate (Talon made it clear to Garret beforehand that she hated this plan). They just 'um' and 'uh' their way through the line of questioning (it's not particularly funny. Their earlier scene was much better) until the big explosion distracts the guard enough to let them through. Garret's healer, Sana, is watching the demonstration along with One (out of the three Grey Popes).
The twelfth episode involves Naya asking to see Gwynn, she tells her about the explosive device (weird that it sounds so farfetched to Gwynn considering everything else that goes on in this world), then she has Naya thrown in a cell for her trouble, she tells Janzo (who's in the cell next to her. Elinor's in a cell as well and is her usual annoying self/won’t shut up, though Janzo tells her to), he finds it hard to believe at first too until she describes it, then he tries to convince Gwynn and echoes my own thoughts by saying that such a device is no crazier than Plaguelings, other dimensions, etc. She sort of half-believes him, but he asks if it bothers her that she locks up all her useful friends, Gwynn's clearly-fake-bro is a dick to Janzo who asks to be taken back to his cell (I think he once again says something like "I don't even know who you are anymore!" which he'd previously said to Elinor in an earlier episode, then says again here - this time directed at Gwynn. At this rate everyone at the outpost will wind up being someone he 'doesn't even know anymore' eventually), then once Janzo's left the room, Gwynn's clearly-fake-bro says he knows a guy who knows an alchemist and if they pay him enough gold they can find out how to stop explosive device (thus confirming such a thing exists). Earlier at dinner he and Gwynn talked about a friend they had they nicknamed 'Fat Sammy', and Gwynn's clearly-fake-bro informs Tobin that he's now filling the role of 'Fat Sammy'. Thankfully, it later appears that Gwynn's not so stupid after all, as although her clearly-fake-bro's got the gold and is ready to leave, she’s been holding off letting him go until the brother of her fake father turns up and he knows full-well that the annoying turd is NOT Gwynn's real brother (YOU DON'T SAY?) because he actually witnessed the real brother's death, Gwynn's now-confirmed-fake-bro is taken away, she works out that his real identity is that of 'Fat Sammy', she says he could’ve lived with her if he'd just come to her/not pretended to be her brother, then she sentences him to death, but her fake uncle talks about her fake father being the sort of person who was into beheadings like she seemingly is now, and I guess that puts doubt in her mind (poor Gwynn. NONE of her 'family' are actually real family members).
Janzo and Naya talk in their cells, he asks about how she went with finding her mum and sister, she admits they’re dead like he said they would be, he asks their names, Elinor recognises the mother's name and says Naya is Janzo’s sister she sold, then and laughs arse off as they recoil. Later, though, Janzo says he’s glad he found her/has a sister, she stumbles over her words (as he does) and they say the word 'twins' in unison...which I guess is all that's needed to confirm it? As Elinor points out, at least all they did was kiss (it's no worse than Luke/Leia, then). Meanwhile, Garret goes to get his revenge on the Prime Order and ends up fighting the Tormenter after leaving Talon stuck outside to fight guards by herself, though she does some good moves and eventually gets through, whereas Garret's getting beaten up by the Tormenter but eventually kills him, saying that was for his father (dude, YOU killed your father, so you should totally pick up where you left off with preparing to stab yourself when you were in Gwynn's room and say, "This is for you, dad!" as you do it). Talon gets there just in time to see the Tormenter on the ground dead (Garret could totally lie and say it was an easy kill if he wanted, though his injuries probably tell another story), she doesn't say, "Thanks for leaving me stuck outside to fight off a bunch of guards by myself, arsehole." to Garret, then they go to confront Grey Pope #1 and his tiny red glowing light creature inside his head causes Garret pain, but that trick doesn’t work on Talon (thanks to her tiny blue glowing light creature), so she amusingly just walks over and simply stabs him, saying his tiny red glowing light creature inside his head will die with him, but after she and Garret have left, Sana turns up and gives Grey Pope #1 a large injection in his chest Pulp Fiction-style to revive him for a few seconds so his tiny red glowing light creature inside his head will transfer to her. So, now Sana is Grey Pope #1 (complete with grey face paint) and she kills the guards who sucked at their job, which Talon and Garret observe from afar.
The thirteenth episode/season final begins with Gwynn suddenly having a change of heart and freeing her 'friends' she imprisoned. I know Elinor describing this change of heart as being like Gwynn has suddenly had a stick removed from her arse was meant to be amusing, but I was glad there's still one person who acts appropriately towards the Queen (whether she deserves it or not) and that is Naya. I just find it ridiculous how Elinor talks to Gwynn, whereas with Janzo I can at least understand it. Wouldn't anyone else be punished for talking the way Elinor does to Gwynn? Anyway, Gwynn apologises and lets them all go but can't find 'Fat Sammy'. It was amusing when she thought now Janzo and Naya could be together and the two of them got very awkward (I imagine Gwynn probably wondered why Janzo nicked off as quickly as possible and didn't stick around to hug/kiss Naya once she was freed). I wonder if Gwynn will ever learn they're siblings? One person who does learn of the sibling relationship is Munt, who was already so happy at the thought of Naya becoming his sister if she married Janzo, but then once it's made clear that ain't never gonna happen...he's just as happy to learn Naya's his sister in a different way. Though his happiness is short-lived, since Janzo's sending Naya away for her safety or whatever. A cynical person could view it as him wanting Naya out of the picture now that Talon has returned, but I don't think that was his motivation. She's returned with Garret to inform Gwynn of the explosive device Sana demonstrated at the end of the eleventh episode. I still find it a bit weird that they all act like this is something they can barely comprehend when they know about smaller explosives...so why can't they fathom it's just one of those but on a much larger scale?
Anyway, Tobin's all about leaving the outpost, whereas Gwynn wants to stay, Talon could summon that demon army she's been prophesied to release, but Gwynn questions her ability to control them, though Talon reckons the Blackbloods who'd come with them could control them. Gwynn points out that of the three Blackbloods she's met, Talon has been the only trustworthy one (she mentioned to Gwynn how Zed betrayed her). Gwynn finds her 'Fat Sammy', she once again mentions how he should've just come to her and not tried to deceive her/steal her gold and he's all, "Um...is it too late for me to do that now?". Speaking of stealing gold, that's what Elinor plans to do and this is why I can't like her character - the fact that she's just out for herself all the time and this is what she does as soon as she has her freedom. Everyone starts leaving the outpost except for Gwynn and all the other main/recurring characters, who remain (after Janzo gave her an idea). They look out at the vast army of Sana's, and then when said army comes inside the outpost, Gwynn gives them one more chance to leave, but they naturally refuse, so then the gate comes down (separating the ones inside the walls from the ones outside) and all the soldiers she has at her disposal attack the Prime Order soldiers. Clearly the show's budget has increased, as I don't think they ever would've been able to manage a big fight scene like this in Season 1.
Everyone fights, though Gwynn mostly just stands there until 'Fat Sammy' gets injured whilst saving her and I was hoping he was done for. Someone else who I was hoping would be a casualty was Elinor, as she's nicking off with her gold she's stolen from Gwynn and only stops when she sees Janzo's in trouble. She knifes a guy a couple times, but then he turns it on her and knifes her back. Munt loses it and starts bashing the guy's head against the ground. Elinor points out she finally did something selfless and this was what she got, then utters something that doesn't make much sense and Janzo doesn't understand/asks for clarification (why is it characters that die always waste their final breaths saying something vague/cryptic instead of just saying what they mean in the simplest way possible? I hardly think it'd take that many more words). Anyway, I can't say I felt the least bit sad during this scene. I was just happy that I finally got my wish and Elinor's annoying character was dead at long last. Angry Munt goes and helps everyone fight the soldiers with his hammer and eventually it seems they've won the first round, but then they see Sana has backup armies. This is when Janzo helps to formulate a plan, as he's built a peanut bomb (seriously, that's what it looked like to me - a peanut shell) and they're going to plant it in the enemy's camp because of what he worked out dying Elinor was actually saying.
The backup armies are about to attack and Gwynn finally gets that maybe it's time to retreat, so she and everyone else go seek shelter whilst leaving Talon alone (this seems to keep happening - first Garret, then Gwynn - great 'friends' Talon has). Meanwhile, Janzo and Garret sneak underneath the enemy camp, there's some awkwardness as Garret has to hold up Janzo to plant his peanut bomb, it creates a hole for Garret to climb out, he goes to pay Sana a visit (she's thankfully ditched the grey face paint which really wasn't doing her any favours), she says she's sent her tiny red glowing light creature from inside her head back to the Prime Order...and that doesn't seem very wise, as she's just counting on Garret loving her or whatever to prevent him from killing her. To no one's surprise but her, he sticks a knife in her gut and reminds her that she made him kill his father. That's the end of Sana. Back at the outpost, Talon realises now is the time to summon that demon army and so she opens up the portal, I think Vikka is the first demon to come back through and then Zed soon follows. It doesn't seem to take much to convince him to get the other demons and Blackbloods who come through to fight against the soldiers (who get let inside the outpost thanks to them having a man on the inside who opened the gate). I wonder why the other Blackbloods were so quick to fight a war they weren't a part of for people they don't even know against an enemy whose fight wasn't even with them?
More fighting ensues, the demons are pretty useful, but once Garret and Janzo set off Sana's explosive device in the camp, the explosion's SO BIG it reaches the gates of the outpost and I think even some Blackbloods and demons are caught in the explosion (I don't care so much about the Blackbloods, but those poor demons ). When the dust settles, it appears one of the casualties was possibly Vikka (I know he had yellow colouring on him and one of the dead demons has yellow too...though maybe more than one has the same colouring? Here's hoping), which I was sad about since Talon had saved his life by having him sent back through the portal earlier in the season and now he only got released from it to die. It's weird that we didn't hear Zed mention Vikka being dead or Talon offering her condolences to him (maybe that means he's alive? Though if so, it's odd that he wasn't standing beside Zed). Gwynn and everyone else come back out from where they were hiding to thank the Blackbloods, but it appears Zed and his people didn't do it out of the kindness of their hearts, as he claims Blackbloods built the outpost and he then gives Talon an ultimatum - to stand with him and the rest of their people or with the humans (who it sounds like aren't going to have a very fun time since they've now got Blackbloods and demons to contend with). Betrayal!
I read comments complaining about this season final and the ending, saying how it wasn't as epic as they expected or that the ending was 'predictable' or whatever. I myself didn't really have a problem with the episode. Just like when I started watching the episode, I accepted that this show isn't like other 'bigger' shows so you have to reduce your expectations somewhat. Still, this season did show an increase in budget and has clearly opened up the world, exploring more places, characters, etc. I'm still annoyed that there were episodes where Talon hardly seemed to be in them, but I think she's grown as a character and I liked seeing her interaction with the different characters. Garret and Gwynn weren't particularly likeable this season, but I can't really blame the former since he was brainwashed whereas with the latter, she wasn't brainwashed (though she did have people trying to influence her one way or the other, so I guess they're partly to blame for her actions). I miss the Gwynn from early in Season 1 before we found out she was royalty and I especially miss her friendship with Talon. They were good together and it's a shame that now they're often at odds with each other. Janzo is...well...Janzo. He's good when interacting with Talon (so long as it's not about him trying to get with her. They have a nice friendship and I don't wish to see that ruined with 'romance', though she's made it clear to him that won't be happening anytime in the near future so it's best he moves on), and I do think he and Garret can make a good team when they're not vying for the affections of Talon. I'm very interested to see how Janzo will be now that he doesn't have Elinor constantly putting him down/berating him. These^ are the four characters I care most about in the show.
As for the rest...despite what Naya did, I actually ended up not-minding her. It's too bad that just as Janzo learned his sister was alive, she leaves and we don't get to see much of their sibling relationship (which would be interesting to explore considering prior to discovering they were related, they had feelings for each other). I didn't like Tobin to begin with, but he became a bit more tolerable towards the end of the season. I also didn't mind Zed...until he turned out to be 'bad'. Here's hoping he can still recover and turn back to being 'good' again, as I liked how he interacted with Talon. As previously mentioned, I'm glad that Elinor, Manbun and (to a lesser extent) Wythers are all gone now...but with those last two I didn't even know they were actually dead for really reals until quite a few episodes after they apparently died. I blame that on the fact that the show has demonstrated characters can be brought back from the dead, so as a result I'm constantly wondering if a character who seemed dead isn't actually. These characters' deaths might've had more impact if A) I'd known for sure that they'd really died at the time, and B) If I actually cared about them, but since I didn't, it was more of an "Oh well." sort of reaction. I'm hoping 'Fat Sammy' will soon join them at the start of next season. As for this season...it had its good moment and its not-so-good moments, but I still liked it quite a bit. Unlike the space of time between watching the first two seasons (which was very brief since I went from the first straight onto the second), I'm going to have to wait a fair while for Season 3 to be released here on DVD/Blu-ray (as I don't think that season's even finished airing in American yet). I just hope they do release the next season here, as with some shows I've never gotten see later seasons because they never bothered to release them where I am. I like this show, flaws and all. It's not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be.
Sanditon . Based on Jane Austen's last unfinished novel . The screenwriter , Andrew Davies , is well known for his involvement in historical series , and he has had to create and to fill out a great part of the story from Jane Austen's erudite introduction . The mini-series is therefore interpretative , and some fans have thought it too contemporary , but he is an intelligent writer , and has left the viewer with much thought for discussion afterwards . The series has many well-known period actors and actresses to watch , and there are a few surprises to enjoy , and not least , some of the unexpected twists in the story .
This^ one has been on TV here for a few weeks now. I do recognise a few actors/actresses from it. I don't mind it, but I still miss Poldark (the version that started back in 2015 and finished in 2019), which I feel this show is somewhat like. Still, it's good to have at least one 'period piece' to be watching on TV at the moment.
Avenue 5 is a space disaster satire along the lines of the Costa Concordia and Titanic themes . I thought it was very funny and the actors were carefully chosen for their adlib . Although I think there might be a missed opportunity if it had been played straighter .
I just recently finished this^ show on DVD. I'd read some comments saying that they didn't think it was that funny, so maybe that helped me go into it with low expectations, but I actually thought it was quite funny in places. Of course, the main reason I wanted to check it out was because it had Lenora Crichlow in the cast who I became a fan of when watching the UK version of Being Human.
Some of the characters in this show I wasn't that fussed on, but I liked her character and interaction with Hugh Laurie's character. Naturally, she ended up becoming my favourite.
I very much enjoyed Sanditon , Chalice . The story is much bigger than the overall pastoral themes of her other novels , and it shows what a great writer she was . But I am uncertain she could have finished it , and I think Andrew Davies has properly interpreted what she was hoping to achieve . Jane Austen went into a vast amount of detail to the setting and characters in her novel introduction , but she was dying and probably knew she wouldn't be able to complete it .
An unfortunate comparison to be had with Sanditon , is with the recent Bridgerton Series . They are both outstanding period series . A viewing tip is to see Sanditon first . Sanditon has struggled to find it's audience , and as such hasn't been able to procure another season sadly . Bridgerton is a big period fantasy production , but Sanditon is a deep look into the way of life in the early 1800's .
Post by wickedkittiesmom on Jun 8, 2021 11:45:38 GMT
I've been binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I'm on Season Five at this time. I'm also planning on watching American Gothic a highly underrated show starring Lucas Black when he was a child. A few months ago I binged watched Forever Knight.
I'd bought this quite some time ago, but just hadn't gotten around to watching it because of the many other unwatched DVDs/Blu-rays I had, then I finally decided I might as well watch it at long last. I'd watched the original Roswell series back when it aired on TV here (though I'd missed at least one episode - a rather important one, I later found out - and probably more). I got the original show in a complete series boxset on DVD ages ago and started rewatching Season 1, but got sidetracked and didn't finish it. Hopefully I will at some point. I didn't really remember much of the show itself, but I remembered certain plot points, and more than anything I remembered the main characters/what they were like...which was probably why it took a while to get used to the actors playing the roles in this series (I also kept getting confused about who was related to who some of the time). Also, there was the fact that the same characters in this show appeared to be 'older' and in some ways this show almost felt like a sequel series, but then would have things happen for the first time like it was starting fresh. It was like a weird sequel/reboot hybrid. I'm not sure why this show decided to 'age up' the characters since they seemed to get involved in the same melodrama that the characters in the original show did, except at least in that one they had the excuse for acting like teenagers because that's what they were supposed to be (even though, as is always the case with shows in a high school setting, the characters were played by actors who were a lot older than high school age), whereas having the characters in this show acting like that when they were adults just seemed weird. Anyway, I preferred some of the versions of the characters in this show to the original versions.
I never liked Shiri Appleby in the original much (then again, I'm just not a fan of her as an actress in general. It took me watching her many years later in the series UnREAL to discover that she was capable of playing a role where I didn't find her totally annoying or boring), so someone else playing her role in this show was the easiest for me to overcome, as I was wanting to actually like Liz (who in the original show had the last name of Parker but here it's Ortecho) and the actress who portrayed her. After having recently watched four seasons of Riverdale with the damn Jughead voiceover, I wasn't particularly in the mood for watching another show that was going to begin and end every episode with a voiceover again (at least they changed it up by having a couple of other characters do the voiceover at the beginning of some of the later episodes). Liz's voiceovers seemed pretty generic, and her introduction scene involving her getting pulled over and ranting about why that was (before she realised it was Max pulling her over) felt eye-rollingly heavy-handed, but as the first episode continued, I warmed up to her a bit more. One of the scenes I do have a fairly clear memory of from the original show was Max saving Liz after she got shot, except here the café was closed for the night and the only person who was there with her when the shooting happened was Max, whereas in the original it happened with other people around (so there was more urgency/danger of Max getting found out). I definitely remembered the part about Max pouring ketchup on her as the excuse for why she had red on her shirt after he'd healed her, but I also recalled in the old version that he told her the cover story to use as he desperately rushed to get out of there. This time around, it seemed like he thought he'd covered it up pretty well but missed the fact that there was a bullet hole in her shirt, which she quickly noted. Another change from the original show was the famous tabasco sauce (which the aliens needed to consume) being replaced with...nail polish remover? I would think them consuming that in public would draw more attention than consuming copious amounts of tabasco sauce ever would.
I was glad that they didn't draw out Liz learning aliens were real and that Max was one (along with Michael and Isobel), as it happened within the first episode (though we missed the amusing moment from the original show with Max simply pointing upwards in response to Liz asking where he was from and her thinking that meant "up North"). One thing that was interesting about the Liz/Max relationship in this version was that because he'd healed her, he left not only the handprint (which I was familiar with from the original show), but also the feelings he had for her...which meant she was feeling 'echoes' of those feelings (it took me a long while to discover their 'ship name' is apparently 'Echo' and that it's not so much in reference to the 'echoes' that he speaks about regarding his feelings and her feeling those feelings, but more a mashup of their last names. Honestly, I think the feelings being 'echoes' as the reason for their shipper name is better). Anyway, Liz seemed to take the news of aliens being real pretty well (and I was glad to hear her ask if Michael and Isobel had the same powers as Max, though was annoyed he avoided answering the question when she asked that). Of course, there were the inevitable roadblocks to them getting together. She was mostly focused on the death of her sister, Rosa. Apparently she'd gotten two other girls killed and the whole town blamed Liz and her dad/her family for it - that seemed to be what she cared about most, which is understandable, but then once she learned that the alien trio had been behind the coverup/setup of her sister, she (justifiably) was angry and wanted nothing to do with Max, Michael and Isobel. It's to Liz's credit that she was still able to talk to them/help them out even after it appeared Isobel was to blame for most of what happened (with Max and Michael being the ones who covered it up). Despite her getting mad at Max and the other two, I never hated her for it. She had good reason to be, and yes, Max saved her...but that didn't undo his part in the coverup of Rosa's death and being blamed for the deaths for getting the other two girls killed.
I think Liz actually handled things pretty well, considering all the bombshells that were dropped on her. I also appreciated that they had her being a scientist in this show and she used her science-y knowledge to help the aliens out at times...though she also created a serum to stop them being able to use their powers once she found out about Isobel and how dangerous she could be with getting into the minds of people/influencing them. I don't hold it against her, though, and she helped them out on more than a few occasions too. At times she could be a bit annoying, but I think it's safe to say I liked her more than the original show's Liz (which I realise is probably an 'unpopular' opinion), but I mainly chalk that up to the fact that I prefer Jeanine Mason to Shiri Appleby and I think they made this Liz a lot more proactive/useful with her being involved in all the science stuff and whatnot. What I really liked was her interaction with characters other than Max - seeing her dynamics with Michael, Isobel, Kyle and even Max's cop partner, Cameron (who I'll get to later), helped keep things interesting so it wasn't just Liz/Max drama all the time. I also liked towards the end of the season after the reveal of who was REALLY behind the murders, where Liz saved the aliens' butts quite a bit, as she was pretty awesome. I also enjoyed her scenes with her dad and especially with her sister via flashbacks, as I really bought the sisterly relationship between Jeanine Mason's Liz and Amber Midthunder (who I recognised from the series Legion, which unfortunately it appears I'll never get to see past the first season of, because they haven't released any other seasons of it here) who played Rosa (I thought she did a good job of making her character feel fully fleshed out even with only a small amount of screentime). With how Season 1 ended, I hope we get many more scenes with the two of them. It's kind of a shame that the episode ended with Liz barely having time to be happy about Rosa being brought back before she had all her happiness taken away by and was back to being sad due to Max seemingly having sacrificed himself to bring her sister back to life.
Speaking of Max, I was already familiar with Nathan Parsons (now going by 'Nathan Dean Parsons' on this show...which I found slightly disappointing, as his original name would make me think of The Alan Parsons Project and I'd keep thinking of him as 'The Nathan Parsons Project') from The Originals, where I knew him as 'Werewolf Jackson', and I'd seen him in some other things as well, so he was the first familiar face I saw in this show. Some people seem to have a problem with his voice/acting, but I never have. I think he's fine...and that's how I felt about his interpretation of Max Evans. He's an older version, working as a cop, and he seemed to have a bit more of an obsession with Liz than I remember the previous version having, which could've been interpreted as a tad creepy, but one thing I'll say is at least I found him less boring than I did Jason Behr's version. With him, he seemed so dull/unenthused with every line delivery he uttered and I remember thinking he left more of an impression in his one guest-starring role in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer than he did during all of the original Roswell series (for me, anyway). Though, to be fair to him, maybe I need to finish rewatching the original series and see if he actually emoted as the show went on. Anyway, NDP was certainly able to show emotions here...one might say almost 'too much', as he did quite a bit of yelling at times (though some of it was warranted) and this Max's version of his powers being used was SO DRAMATIC - ie. yelling in pain, lights blowing out, explosions of electricity, etc. It seems rather inconvenient if he needs to ever use them in public, as at least original series Max just did the handprint thing and that was it (from what I can remember).
One thing about Max that didn't exactly paint him in a good light was his coverup/setup of Rosa's death/her being behind the car accident that killed two other girls and made the whole town turn on Liz and her dad. I get he was protecting Isobel, but surely he could've come up with something else besides sticking Rosa behind the wheel, and having all three girls get flambéed in the car by Michael to hide the fact that it appeared Isobel had killed all of them. Anyway, Max did make questionable choices throughout the season, but I still more or less liked him (at least most of the time). I enjoyed his interaction with not only Liz, Michael and Isobel, but also Jenna Cameron (played by Riley Voelkel, who was in The Originals along with NDP, where she played Freya). I wish we could've gotten more of them, as I actually found Cameron to be a really good character. While I was still getting used to all these new actors playing roles I'd seen portrayed by different actors previously, Cameron was a new role I hadn't seen before and so Riley Voelkel was able to make it her own from the start and I had no other version to compare her to. It also helped that she was given some good one-liners and just seemed to be playing the role effortlessly. There was an 'easiness' to her character, she felt more 'natural' than most and made her character instantly likeable. I was glad to see another recogniseable face in this show, but was bummed that she left by the end of the season. I enjoyed seeing her interact with characters other than Max as well, such as Liz, Isobel, Alex, Kyle - I wished there could've been more of that, as they had different/interesting dynamics. I was glad she turned out to be cool and didn't allow Alex's father, who was blackmailing her into doing shady shit for him (by holding her sister over her head), to control her. She helped out the aliens (another character who seemed pretty accepting of them, and fairly quickly too. It was refreshing having all the characters who found out about the aliens not freak out much upon learning the 'secret'. In fact, Michael and Isobel freaked out WAY more in regards to Liz learning the secret than any of the humans freaked out after learning aliens were real. And then later in the season where it seemed like almost all the main cast were in on the not-so-secret 'secret', it almost became like it was no big thing) and was one of the best characters in the show. I actually thought Max was a bit of a jerk to her at times, but she was pretty mature about them gettin' it on despite the fact that he was still clearly in love with Liz and had never really moved on.
I found it interesting in the season final that Max seemed to get really enthusiastic/happy towards the end of the episode, after the bad guy had been defeated. It was like Max had suddenly lost his broodiness/angst, but he also decided to listen to what the bad guy had told him about utilising his powers more than he had been and used them to bring Rosa back to life (after she'd been discovered in the bad guy's alien pod), which was good for Rosa...but bad for Max, as it appeared he was now dead in her place. I think it's a safe bet that he's not actually for really reals dead...but they did a good job of making it appear for a second like he possibly could be. I wonder now that he showed off his Thor-like powers with summoning lightning to off the bad guy whether we'll ever see that again or whether it was a one-off? I was glad he took the stance that the bad guy needed to die, unlike Michael who cared more about getting answers about their heritage, etc and was being stupid, which let the bad guy get away to do more harm. When that happened, I thought to myself that if anyone else died, it'd be on Michael for allowing the bad guy to escape. Speaking of Michael, I can't say I was that fussed on this show's version of the character. I mean, I wasn't that fond of Brendan Fehr's version either (who always seemed to be grumpy), but it took me a lot longer to get accustomed to this one than that one. This show's Michael came on WAY too strong in the first episode (or even the first few episodes) and it wasn't until he started interacting with Max and Isobel more and they felt more like the alien trio from the original series that I found him tolerable. I also thought he and Alex together were pretty boring, so in comparison him and Maria were actually alright (though certainly nowhere near as good as the original Michael/Maria relationship/dynamic. Those two just worked, whereas this Michael I didn't get much from with either of his pairings). He was also stupid at the end of the season when he wanted to let the bad guy go in the hopes of getting answers (and worse, he was going against Max who was telling him how much he considered Michael family). I think the most interesting dynamic Michael had was with Liz, since they weren't exactly fond of each other, but kind of begrudgingly got along eventually.
Katherine Heigl's Isobel was one of the characters from the original show I thought I remembered quite well, especially the way she acted, so this version's one felt like a more extreme version of her. The other one could be on Max's case at times about Liz, keeping their secret, etc...but this one seemed like she could murder Liz at times (at least in the first few episodes, though I guess that made it easier to believe she could've been responsible for the deaths of Rosa and the other girls). There was that scene where she and Michael acted like hired goons who'd come to 'persuade' a certain person to leave town - in this case Liz - and Max was justified in being angry at both of them, as their behaviour wasn't cool. However, as the season went on, Isobel appeared to show some vulnerability and we saw that she wasn't always acting like her true self. I wondered what was going on, since she seemed to have a split personality and that would've definitely been something new/that wasn't in the original show (that I can recall), but then it was revealed her husband, Noah, was the bad guy/fourth alien/one responsible for making Isobel kill Rosa and the other two girls. I think this massive betrayal made her quite sympathetic and she became easier to like the more she interacted with the other characters. She showed she was capable of being decent/caring, and I was happy to hear her be all "Call me when he's dead." in reference to her murderer hubby. The way they did her being in other characters' minds (and them in hers) was interesting. I had vague recollections of Isobel in the original show having mind powers but only after I was reminded of it when watching this one. People seem to be quick to label what she does as 'mindrape', but as she keeps clarifying, she doesn't make anyone do anything they weren't wanting to do in the first place. I liken it to Clark on Red Kryptonite in Smallville - that just removed his inhibitions, and I think that's more or less what she's doing here. Also, how boring of an alien would she be if she never used her power? Though, thankfully, by the end of the season it looked like all three of them were discovering they could do more than they first thought, so hopefully she'll focus on the non-mind/influencing powers next season.
The human characters (who weren't Cameron) didn't interest me a whole lot. Heather Hemmens as Maria was fine (though, again, she really has a ways to go before she matches the original show's version of the character. Majandra Delfino's version of Maria DeLuca was one of the highlights from the old series), Kyle just felt like a slightly less-angry version of Tyler Lockwood (who Michael Trevino played in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals)...at least in the beginning, anyway. As this season progressed, he showed he had more layers to him and he was best when interacting with characters such as Liz, Isobel, Alex and Cameron. Speaking of, this show's Alex (played by Tyler Blackburn, who I knew from Pretty Little Liars) was the hardest to wrap my head around, since he was the complete opposite of Colin Hanks' interpretation from the original series. I didn't find him particularly interesting, especially not with Michael, but he got a bit more interesting when he interacted with the other non-Michael characters. That seemed to be a pattern for quite a few of the characters in this show - if one was supposed to be in a relationship with another, then I didn't find those two particularly interesting, but then when they interacted with anyone else, I thought they improved. There were some exceptions to that rule, of course, such as Alex's father who was one character I never thought got any better/more interesting. He was just a homophobic, alien-hating stereotype played by an actor who, to me, seemed like he was bored playing the role most of the time. I'm not even sure why he's a 'regular' in the show. They could easily cut him back to being 'recurring' and it'd make little difference. Actually, scratch that, it'd be an improvement if we saw less of him. Talk about a boring bad guy. More interesting in the bad guy role was the actor playing Noah, who'd seemed like such a decent person and good hubby to Isobel, but then it was revealed he was an alien (which, really, should've been obvious to me when he barely reacted to seeing the pods...but somehow I didn't think of it at the time, though I did realise he was the fourth alien/murderer before it was actually revealed in the show, so that's something at least). He was actually quite effectively creepy (I had to laugh at one of the episodes, after the reveal of him being bad, having the title 'Creep' - since that was indeed what he was. I actually appreciated all the 90's song titles for episodes in the season. Hopefully they can stick with that pattern), though I was glad they didn't drag out him being around to cause more trouble/deaths and that Max finally ended him in the season final.
Some things that surprised me were Sheriff Valenti getting gender-swapped in this show (and not being as involved in the story as William Sadler's version was), a blonde Claudia Black guest-starring as Max and Isobel's adoptive mum (though, sadly, she only appeared in the one episode. I'm hoping we'll see more of her) and Kayla Ewell (completing the TVD/TO reunion, since she played Vicki in TVD) popping up in a cameo as the young version of Michael's mum in the season final...before all the aliens trapped at the facility seemingly got taken out via an explosion. Another casualty I felt a bit sorry for was the alien conspiracy nut who turned out to actually not be off his rocker after all (so, naturally, he wound up dead). I'm not one of those people who was so obsessed with the original series that I automatically objected to this reboot/remake/whatever-you-want-to-call-it once the news of it being made was first announced. While I watched all three seasons of the old show on TV (albeit missing some episodes here and there), it was never a something that I thought was in the same league as BtVS. However, when I started rewatching Season 1 on DVD quite a while back, I was kind of getting into it again (as it'd been so long since I first watched it). It was almost like watching it anew. This show was somewhat similar in that there was stuff I recognised and was familiar with...but then also a lot of stuff that was 'new' too. Some things I felt this show did 'better' than the original show and some things I thought it did 'worse'. Same with the characters. Do I like this show more or less than the original series? To make an informed decision about that, I think I'll have to finish rewatching the old show first. Judging this series by itself/without comparing it to the original...I thought it was alright, though wasn't blown away. I felt this first season started off slowly, but finally got going around episode 6 when we had the flashbacks to the alien trio as teenagers (the actors who played them did a good job and made me wonder why they didn't just have this show be based around them instead of aging them up) and we got some answers as to what really happened with Rosa's murder. The season's ending promised some interesting developments (not to mention it managed to work in the original show's theme song - albeit a cover. I should also mention the other songs used throughout the season were pretty good too. I especially appreciated hearing one from Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill album...and not one of the 'obvious' songs either), but I can't say I'm 'anxiously awaiting' Season 2. Though since I'm hoping they do eventually end up releasing it here and it doesn't become one of countless shows that I've started on DVD/Blu-ray only to find that the later seasons aren't ever going to be released for whatever reason (I hate it when they do that), I guess I must actually somewhat care about seeing Season 2 (and am not just simply indifferent to whether we get it or not) and that means I do in fact like it.
I hadn't really had much interest in it for the longest time, but had read comments elsewhere that it was an "underappreciated show". Anyway, there was a 'Buy 1 Get 1 Free' deal at the place I buy DVDs/Blu-rays, so I got the complete series on Blu-ray just on a whim. I watched the first three episodes in a row and thought they did rush a bit into having Terry don the suit in the second episode (I guess they showed restraint by not having it happen in the first episode), and it seemed to take him very little time to master how to use it (I guess the excuse is that the suit does most of the work). I was wondering just how many features that suit has (and hoping it wasn't going to be like the Swiss Army knife of superhero costumes). I did think it was quite a strong moment when they showed what made Bruce retire as Batman - ie. not just his getting on in years, but the fact that he had to resort to pointing a gun at someone (yes, it was a bad guy, but Batman's always been pretty anti-gun, I think...unless it's a BATGUN - those are okay). In any case, his reason for quitting annoyed me less than Robin's reason for quitting being Robin in B:TAS (ie. he saw Batman yell at/get physical with a guy in front of his kid - that caused me to roll my eyes). I also liked that old man Bruce had a dog (and hoped nothing bad happened to him ).
I'd actually seen one episode of this show prior to getting the complete series on Blu-ray. When I bought B:TAS on Blu-ray a while back, it included every episode that featured the character of Mr. Freeze as well as his episode from this show - so that's how I got to see an ep of this series before ever buying it. Anyway, when watching that one episode, I naturally got to see this show's opening credits...and, to be honest, wasn't fussed on them. It reminded me of those videos used to convert people into becoming a certain way with the flashing images and words on the screen. However, now that I've watched a few episodes of the show, I'm more or less used to it - though it amused me that there are at least two moments in the opening credits featuring dancing. One is a nightclub scene and the other...well, I guess technically it's Terry/Batman performing martial arts moves or whatever, but it more resembles dance moves to me (starts at about 0:28). It reminded me of the bit from an episode of The Simpsons where Adam West asks why Batman doesn't dance anymore. When watching the opening credits of this show, I thought "Well...he dances now."
After watching a few more episodes, I think I started liking the show a bit more. One involved almost a 'What if...?' scenario for three 'heroes' who were pretty much a direct rip-off of the Fantastic Four...only they were three (the fourth one didn't get any powers). I was surprised by how much one resembled Clayface from B:TAS. It was like just a slightly updated-looking version of him. I was also surprised that Terry seemingly offed the trio (I wasn't positive if they were 'dead' or not, but the way it played out it seemed they were gone for good). One of the other episodes featured a villain who could affect sound and whatnot and there was a really good sequence where the sound dropped out but all this action was going on - I thought that was neat. Also, old man Bruce's dog got to save Terry at one point. There was an amusing moment at the end of the episode, as Bruce had been sent to hospital and it seemed like he was hearing voices (apparently his own), but that turned out not to be the case and the reason he knew he wasn't crazy was because the voice kept calling him 'Bruce' and that's not what he calls himself, which implied he calls himself 'Batman' and Terry was all like, "That's my name now." to which Bruce replied, "Tell that to my subconscious." (heh). In between those two episodes was the Mr. Freeze episode that was included on my B:TAS Blu-rays. I almost wasn't going to bother watching it again, but since I originally watched it quite some time ago, I decided to rewatch it in the end. There was a good joke where Bruce was telling Terry that Victor Fries (who had a new body) wasn't reformed like he was making out and was dangerous, then Terry saw Fries rescue a kitten and made a sarcastic comment like, "Yeah, there's a menace to society." - I appreciate sarcastic humour. All in all, it was by this point that I thought the show was starting to grow on me.
I'd seen mentions of the Royal Flush Gang, but had no clue who they were until I watched an episode with that gang of characters in it. What stood out to me about this one was Terry basically got dumped by his g/f, Dana, for always being late and then he hooked up with another character named Melanie Walker who, of course, turned out to be one of the Royal Flush Gang (though she had some qualms about some of the things they did and, naturally, daddy issues). I thought the voice sounded familiar, and kept trying to think of who it was (I'm not that great when it comes to putting a name to a voice unless it's REALLY obvious who the voice belongs to). I thought I might've guessed who it was, but it turned out to be someone else, though I do know the actress - Olivia d'Abo. Anyway, considering we were just introduced to her in this episode, she quickly made more of an impact in this one ep than Dana had in all the previous ones. I liked Melanie with Terry (though what was slightly amusing to me was the music that played during the scene where they ran to to meet in the rain, as it sounded like the sort of music you'd get in those typical teen romance films). Sadly, I knew them as a couple would be short-lived since it was so obvious she was one of the Royal Flush Gang. I looked her up on IMDB and saw that she would be in two more episodes, which I was happy to see since Melanie was a much more intriguing a character than Dana had been. I appreciated that Terry/Melanie weren't just a carbon copy of the Bruce/Selina relationship. I do feel a bit bad about being so hard on the Dana character, since she's stuck in the thankless role of the 'girlfriend' and being on Terry's case about being late, not showing up, etc. But Melanie showed they are capable of writing interesting female characters who can also be potential 'love interests' for Terry without being boring/annoying. I've noticed with superhero shows that now they don't seem to drag out the 'love interest' not knowing the identity of hero for as long. Six Seasons of Smallville with Lana not knowing wouldn't fly today. It just makes the 'love interest' character into someone the audience doesn't like despite the fact that probably a lot of people would get as fed up with the lateness/not showing up/lame excuses if they were put in the same situation as those 'love interests' they hate so much. It seems to be a case of while it's realistic...it makes for non-fun watching. So, it's kind of a shame they did it here with Dana.
This episode also saw Terry and Bruce having their first real argument and Terry said some stuff about not wanting to end up alone like Bruce (it was kind of BS for him to give Bruce a hard time since he accepted this job as Batman and therefore should've also accepted the responsibilities that came with it). I did like at the end that Bruce was going to tell Terry about Selina. They seemed to keep finding ways of either working in mentions of old characters or featuring them. In the next one, it wasn't immediately obvious that Bane was going to be mentioned/featured, but I thought I recognised the veiny effect that came with one of the jocks at Terry's school using a patch that gave him strength. By the time Bruce mentioned Bane, I'd figured out that was who it was going to be about (before it even happened, I thought Terry might cause him to 'overdose' on the patches by giving him more than he could handle - and the reason I thought of that was because in an episode of B:TAS, Batman basically did the same thing to Bane - he caused him to get too much of the venom in him and I honestly thought for a second he was going to explode, he got so HUGE - though, of course, that would've never happened. What Terry did in this episode was more or less like that), though then when we saw Bane, he was just a weak/frail old guy (I had to laugh at Terry's asking Bruce how old Bane would've been and then wondering what harm an 'old geezer' like him could be before he remembered Bruce's was an 'old geezer' too and could totally kick his arse). I was surprised that they managed to work drugs into this show (though the word is never uttered, they had substitutes for it). Funny how even so far into the future they still can't even keep hoodlums in jail for long. Those 'Jokerz' kept turning up, getting arrested and then turned up again at later points. It was like Arkham Asylum all over again (where EVERYONE could easily escape that place, it seemed).
I noticed there were 'callbacks' to B:TAS without even featuring the characters. Like for instance the character of Inque - who, to me, was very 'Clayface' with her abilities. Then there was the guy who became so obsessed with her he kissed the block of ice she was frozen in at the end of her first episode. It was funny how the one who fired him clearly was going to call the guy a pervert, but naturally they wouldn't have gotten that word onto this show. I felt slightly sorry for him at the end when he got turned into half human/half blob (and even worse, he was stuck in a prison of sorts like Inque had been, getting fed puréed food and being forced to listen to some annoying woman prattle on about her dull life) but he brought it on himself, thinking he could trust Inque to keep her end of the bargain to make him like her). Still, I was surprised by want happened to Inque's 'fan' - that was kind of nastier than a lot of stuff they had in both this show and B:TAS (including what happened to Clayface to start with, since at least eventually he was able to take forms but this poor sap was stuck this way now...and he thought his life was bad before). I was just thinking today about how B:TAS sometimes had ending that made you feel unnerved. It was nice to see Barbara Gordon get more focus in the next episode (it took me looking online at the cast list for the show to realise it was Stockard Channing voicing her), and there was an amusing sequence where she just wandered nonchalantly into the Batcave and Terry was freaking out while Bruce was (naturally) cool as a cucumber about it. Later, there was a scene with Terry and Barbara talking and it was alluded to that she had a thing with Bruce (I never saw the movie which had the two of them gettin' it on, but I had heard about the controversy surrounding it). It was nice to see Barbara could still kick arse (just like Bruce could), and the look she gave when she used one of Terry's Batarangs totally said, "Oh yeah, I've missed this."/"Still got it!" or something similar. Oddly, the most disappointing part was the main villain of the episode. Other than having a sword that could cut through seemingly anything, I didn't find Curaré particularly memorable/interesting (though I thought we'd at least get to see her face).
The first episode of Season 2 featured a plotline that again reminded me of B:TAS - this one involving splicing animal DNA with humans. I remembered the B:TAS episode that featured Catwoman being turned into a literal cat-woman because it had Tygrus in it and I always remember him from the first time I watched the episode on TV when I was young (as he reminded me of our cat we had). I actually liked that episode (whereas I think others weren't so fond of it). Anyway, what stood out to me the most about this episode was that Bruce's dog, Ace, probably got the most screentime he'd had yet. Not only did he help Bruce fight Terry who'd been turned into a literal bat-man (reminding me of Man-Bat in the process) a couple of times (and got tossed into things for his trouble ), but then he helped track down the bad guy (after Terry had told Ace that they didn't like each other) and even jumped into help Terry out after the main villain turned into a grotesque monster (speaking of, this was another instance where the villain was beaten by overloading him with a drug - this time it was many injections that Terry stuck him with). In the end fight, poor Ace looked to get even more hurt than he did when taking on Terry-Bat and I was seriously thinking to myself, "They better not have killed the dog!" (it was bad enough seeing him get hurt/hearing him yelp. Yes, I hate animal cruelty in any form - be it live-action shows or animated). Thankfully, Terry picked him up and in the next scene Ace was walking around fine (not sure how realistic that was, but who cares?). At least the two of them bonded and I hoped this meant that Terry now saw Ace had his back. At one point he amusingly said, "Good Bat-Dog.", though he should've really learned/used his proper name after what they'd been through together. Yes, I got overly attached to that dog. It couldn't be helped. I was relieved when I found out that Ace lived/survived the whole series.
As far the next handful of episodes I watched, we met Jackie Wallace in an episode with an earth monster of sorts who turned out to be her father (long thought dead). I was surprised when we saw his corpse that still had consciousness thanks to an accident (ah, good ol' chemical accidents - where would supervillains be without them?). She just struck me as a more 'realistic' type of character who interacted with Terry than what Dana had been, as she wasn't as exaggerated in her actions or dialogue. I was morbidly amused when her house sunk into the ground and Terry/Batman just stood there watching, though I liked the effect of seeing under the earth through the windows in the house - I thought that was nifty. I was kind of over the Jokerz by this point (they made a certain kind of sense - in that they seemed like something that could very well happen, as there's always those out there who see a crazy murderous psychopath and think to themselves "That's my idol!", yet when they try to emulate them, they're just a poor imitation - but I still would've loved it if the real Joker had shown up, with these idiots thinking he was going to praise them for 'carrying on his legacy' or whatever, but then he just insulted them and then offed them instead...but I knew we'd never get such a thing in this show). The next episode with them was basically about them getting a hold of home high-tech flying vehicle and how that allowed them to do more damage than they could before. I was surprised by a couple of things in this episode - one being that who I thought was the 'leader' of the Jokerz (ie. the one with the green hair, purple suit and who basically looked like he'd skinned the actual Joker and wore him as a person suit) actually turned out not to be. It was the other guy (who was in the very first episode of the show). I was also surprised that Wendie Malick's character never seemed to have her name mentioned (or if she did, I missed it). This was one instance where I *did* manage to figure out who was doing the voice before the credits rolled (though I still checked to make sure I was right. Damn voice work - makes me second-guess myself, since half the time I think a voice is a certain actor/actress and then it turns out not to be them - though I usually had to look up the cast on the IMDB page for the show because the end credits went by far too quickly). I thought there'd be more to her character/she'd become more important.
I was glad to see Melanie return - she and Terry were still the best pairing when it came to him and any of the other female characters in the show. Olivia d'Abo just managed to make her sound much more natural with the way she talked than some of the other female characters. They felt like a pair that could be in any of the live-action superhero shows on at the moment. A jock character from Terry's school turned out to be one of a different group of Jokerz and I thought he was more effective in the makeup than any of the Jokerz that had come before. He was just eerily calm-sounding and not trying to be all 'wacky' or whatever. Shame he wasn't the leader of the main group of Jokerz we kept seeing. As is often the case, I think 'less is more'. Max ended up finding out about Terry and thus became his 'Alfred' (or at least that's what he called her, though I think Bruce was more his Alfred than anyone). I wasn't sure how I felt about another student from Terry's school being in on everything, as I was worried she would suddenly pick up expert fighting skills and become his 'Robin' of sorts, which would've been taking things too far too soon (though I have to keep reminding myself animated shows don't move at the same speed as live-action ones. It's why it only took until the second episode for Terry to suit up and become 'Batman'. To keep kid viewers' attention, things need to move along at a brisk pace). Anyway, she was still more interesting than Dana at least. I think what they should have done with Dana was made her the computer genius that Max was and then she could've found out Terry's secret but also been useful to him like Max. They could've blended the two characters (I don't have any problem with Max. She's fine, but it's just too bad Dana couldn't have been the one to find out and ended up being useful to Terry, since it seems the 'love interest' character is more often than not doomed to be stuck in a thankless role that makes everyone want them gone). Which brings me to the Rat Boy episode - I can't help it, I hear 'Rat Boy' and it immediately makes me think of The Simpsons.
It was another one of those 'freak becomes obsessed with girl and kidnaps her in the hope they'll live happily together forever' type of storylines I'd seen many times before. I was surprised that Rat Boy (yes, I know we learn his name but that's what I'm calling him) sounded so normal and didn't have any kind of 'ratty'-sounding voice or habits. I actually felt a twinge of sympathy for him since giant pet rats were his only friends, but then there was his sudden but inevitable turning on Dana - who, I will admit, I actually didn't mind in this episode since she was basically put through hell. She'd dressed up nice for her date, giving Terry 'one more chance' or whatever, then got kidnapped by Rat Boy, taken to his sewer lair, was menaced by rats, wading through sewerage, and almost died a few times. This was one instance where her being ticked off would've been justified. I did wonder if Rat Boy and his pets/friends perished in the explosion set off by Dana dropping that torch she'd made. Actually, that's something I've been noticing for a while with this show - that in some instances it's been unclear whether civilians/villains have lived or died. I remember B:TAS always made a point of showing no one had died even after all the giant explosions (of which there were many), whereas oftentimes with this series it seems to be left ambiguous.
Shriek (the sound guy who'd lost his hearing at the end of his first episode) returned in one of the next episodes, which started with Ace the dog attacking Bruce and Terry (who used tranquilizer darts from the Batsuit to calm him down). I felt bad for Ace immediately afterwards, since he was muzzled and probably didn't even remember what had happened/didn't know why he'd been muzzled (dogs whining/whimpering is just about the saddest sound I can think of). At the vet, it turned out other animals had gone crazy too. It was weird that one minute Terry was there with Ace and the next he was sorting out the escaped animals from the zoo - did he just dump poor Ace at the vet and ask Max to take care of him since she was there with her cat? It was interesting seeing Terry have to decide whether to give himself over to Shriek or let others pay the price. Bruce really didn't take too kindly to the ungrateful people who were all "Poor Shriek, he just wants payback for Batman deafening him." and such (how thick are these people?). Can't say I blamed Bruce for his attitude. Though he shouldn't have gotten snippy with Barbara. She more than proved her loyalty to him and thinking she'd just let Terry be killed by Shriek? Tsk tsk, Bruce. You should know Barbara better than that. I noticed at one point Terry was playing fetch with Ace in the Batcave (at least I think it was this episode), and considering there are giant voids of space where one could plummet to their death in that cave...maybe not such a wise idea to play fetch with the dog who'll chase after a ball no matter what. There was one funny moment where someone said to Shriek something like, "You're out of your mind." and his simple response over the phone was "Duh." (though it seemed like he got crushed at the end there. It's truly surprising just how many characters in this show have quite possibly ended up dead).
The episode with the nerd and his robot basically played out like an episode of BtVS did which also involved a nerd and a robot he had built that was devoted to him and he became less interested in her, which caused her to go nutso. It was mildly funny when he said he just wanted to be friends with her and Terry knew that was the WRONG move. So wrong, in fact, it caused her to explode - the ultimate indicator to everyone to never utter that phrase when attempting to break up with someone. Nice bit of fanservice with the old school B:TAS characters in robot form at the start when Terry was training. I had no clue who this 'Mad Stan' character was when he appeared in a previous episode, as they were treating him like we'd seen him before (maybe we had and I just forgot - but if I did, it was because he was so unmemorable), but the next time around I was like, "Oh, not him again!" as he was the most irksome sort of personality imaginable with his adding 'man' to the end of almost every sentence and going on about society or whatever. I had SO hoped he'd died for real, but suspected I wasn't going to be that lucky. It was interesting having Barbara thinking Terry had killed him. I almost wished he had, because he would've had every right to do so - stopping a crazy bomber terrorist. Alas, it was actually Spellbinder behind the whole thing. That's one thing about these shows - I think there could be an added layer of complexity if they were allowed to, but naturally they can't have their hero off anyone (no matter how good a reason for it). As easy as it'd be to hate Barbara for the way she was acting, it was also understandable and funny how she worked alongside Bruce all that time but he believed Terry over her. Anyway, she apologised to Terry in the end and kudos to him for not holding a grudge.
Curaré returned...and I found her just as boring as I did the first time. Honestly, her sword was more memorable/interesting than she was (but, hey, at least she made some sounds in her second episode. I thought maybe next time she'd even get a line). Bruce was gone, so Terry had to take care of Gotham without his help. Max got herself into trouble by not listening to Terry and could've gotten killed, but naturally didn't. I was hoping this meant she learned her lesson about not listening to him (and also about not calling him 'Terry' when he was in the Batman getup in case someone overheard). It was interesting that a fellow assassin of Curaré's wanted protection from her, Terry was reluctant to provide it, the guy had a bomb planted somewhere and then got mind-wiped so he basically ended up as a veggie. The next episode involved kids from Terry's school being sent to cult farm. I liked that we got a bit more of Chelsea (Terry's friends who weren't Dana continued to prove more interesting than her), then there was the dude who was a jerk who reluctantly ended up helping Terry with getting everyone out, but then he wanted to off the guy in charge of the operation and Terry told him not to, because it'd undo all the good he'd done by helping everyone escape. It was an interesting part/added some complexity, because he went through with letting the bad guy fall to his death (though, naturally, Terry saved the guy) and then consequently got arrested. He could've ended up a 'hero' of sorts, but chose the wrong course. The 'Armory' episode that followed isn't even worth talking about, as I found it so dull.
The next bunch of episodes I watched started with the reporter guy who found out about Terry being current Batman and Bruce being former Batman thanks to his ability to walk through walls. One thing that always gets me about characters with this power is...okay, they can walk through walls and other things, but why exactly can some solid object they're holding move through walls/solid matter as well? I guess the explanation is that anything they're touching/holding is able to move through solid matter as well? And then there's the fact that one second Terry's fists were going through the guy, then the next he wass punching/kicking the crap out of Terry - so somehow he wasn't solid and then the next second he was and kept switching between the two every few seconds? No wonder it started having a negative effect on him, since that would've been a lot of switching. So, Terry tried to tell his mum and brother before the news came out, but they just laughed it off. Bruce actually took the news that his and Terry's secret identities were going to be 'outed' fairly well, considering. The most surprising part was the end, where the guy (was he supposed to be Australian or South African?) started falling through the floor and then every other surface underneath. By the time Terry eventually caught up with him, the dude must've been losing it, because one minute he was laughing crazily and then the next he realised how screwed he was. I was actually quite shocked that Bruce's attitude was all, "Oh well, he'll eventually reach the centre of the Earth." and then he made a crack about how you couldn't get more 'inside' than that (since the dude was all about getting 'inside' places to eavesdrop/record secret conversations and such).
Another shock was that the 'Eggbaby' episode that followed was apparently an Emmy-winning episode? I only learned this by listening to the commentary (I like to listen to the commentaries for this show and B:TAS because the showrunners are actually quite entertaining with the stuff they have to say and aren't afraid to point out mistakes/flaws, etc). They explained that they purposely submitted this kid-friendly episode since it was in a category for kids cartoons or whatever. They also explained how some hated it, whilst others enjoyed it. I generally hate anything to do with kids in shows or movies, and especially hate the crying of infants since it bugs the crap out of me and I always turn the volume way down (which is annoying, since it means I miss any dialogue that is said when that noise is going on). So...yeah, this wasn't a favourite. It had some amusing moments - mostly Bruce's attitude towards the eggbaby thing, where it sounded like he would've tossed it into the pit of the Batcave if it were up to him, but mostly I wasn't that fond of it. Such a shame that THIS won an Emmy, and not any of the actually well-constructed, mature and complex episodes. The following episodes involved Max becoming attached to a robot guy, that Hunter dude returning and a bunch of goons with enhancements (like metal whips, mini-chainsaws on the kneecaps - which just seems impractical - and armour that made one guy basically Juggernaut from the X-Men) and a doctor who was doing those enhancements for them because they had his wife, but as I figured out before it was revealed, the wife was in cahoots with the goons (and snogging the leader to boot). The most interesting part was the end, and that was because it was a surprise at how 'dark' it was - the doctor knew about head goon snogging his wife, but the goon didn't know that the doc knew and was expecting more enhancements, but instead we just saw the doc standing over him all menacing-like with a drill coming towards the screen which pretty much told us the goon was screwed literally. I appreciated that ending.
The last handful of episodes from Season 2 featured a virtual reality game of sorts that some teenagers from Terry's school got really into. It was pretty silly, but it was kind of amusing how blatantly obvious the Star Wars rip-offs "homages" were - everything from the bad guy shooting electricity from his fingertips at the end to the George Lucas guy who created the game (though he more resembled George R. R. Martin, I thought) and the last line about the story starting a "a long, long time ago...". A pretty disposable episode, save for one amusing moment where Max asked Terry something where the answer was quite obvious, so he replied sarcastically, "Is Jar Jar lame?". That line took me by surprise, but I loved it. As if any further evidence was needed of Jar Jar's lameness, even kids' cartoons know how lame he is. The episode with the guy called Payback who was going all vigilante on various people did a good job of making me think it was the big dude at the place Terry went to and vented his frustrations about Bruce. It wasn't until after they'd made it clear the big dude wasn't Payback that I worked out it was the kid and thus it came as no surprise once Terry eventually revealed him as the culprit. The next episode involved Terry going missing and Bruce having to work with Max, who he was his usual grumpy self with - I kind of liked his grumpiness in that situation. She said at one point she saved him and not the other way around, but in fact he did save her in return for her saving him. I was glad he didn't just welcome her with open arms. It would've been too much. He acknowledged that she was 'good'/'very good', but that still didn't stop him from calling guys on her so he could go find Terry (whereas she'd thought the plan was Bruce would distract the guys away from her).
The Season 2 final was an episode I hadn't even expected, as it focused on Ace the dog. He got away from Terry when he caught a whiff of/saw a dude who he obviously had a bad history with and chased after him, barking. Terry might be a decent Batman, but he's not a great dog-minder. However, at least he acted more concerned about Ace being out there alone than Bruce did, who seemed more concerned about the guy Ace had chased. I know they showed that Bruce cared about Ace and even gave us a flashback scene to how he met him (ie. when Bruce went to visit the scene of his parents' murder on the anniversary and was accosted by a clown, who then Ace helped save him from...only to get punched unconscious - which I hated seeing - and Bruce had to carry poor Ace to the car), but I was right there with Terry expressing shock that Bruce was all, "He'll be fine. He's a survivor who can take care of himself." (personally, given how messed up Gotham is, I would've been super-concerned for Ace's safety, 'survivor' or not). I hated seeing Ace get hurt multiple times, it was sad when Terry flew over in the Batmobile (why do they call it that when it's more of an airplane?) and Ace started to run after it, barking (like he was saying, "Hey, down here!") and then stopped, sat and whined a bit when Terry flew past/left him and, of course, the worst stuff was the bad guy getting Ace as a pup, holding him by the scruff, shoving a rolled up newspaper in his tiny face, getting him to tear it apart, and then the heavily implied torture via electric glove (that at least the camera moved away from and we didn't have to be subjected to Ace's cries from being tortured). Honestly, this was some of the 'darkest' stuff in the show, I thought. I mean, dog fighting/torture in a kids' cartoon?
The climax involved Terry versing a monster dog (I also felt sorry for what had been done to that poor mutt) while Ace got back at his cruel former owner (not that we saw what he did to him. I thought for a second they'd both gone over into the water, but later they showed the guy survived and was just hooked on something that prevented him landing in the water. If there was ever a time for BB's now-expected ambiguity regarding the fates of bad guys, it was THIS. They should've had it be where we could almost be guaranteed the bastard had died - that would've been more satisfying). Anyway, Ace returned to help Terry out with the monster dog (who Terry briefly ended up inside the mouth of at one point). Considering how many whacks Ace took this episode, he managed to recover remarkably quickly. When the monster dog was presumably killed by the falling stuff on top of it (WHY couldn't the animal abuser have been crushed by falling debris instead??), it kind or reminded me of the Rancor in RotJ which Luke killed by having the door close on it, as I thought it looked similar to that. I liked the look of the Batsuit so torn up, revealing all the underneath stuff. Anyway, the best part was Ace returning home and running into Bruce's arms, as not only was it nice to see them reunited, but it was one of the only times I could recall seeing grumpy old man Bruce actually SMILE. If any episode should've gotten an Emmy nomination, it should've been this one for dealing with mature content but in a kid-friendly way. That takes some tricky balancing of both 'light' and 'dark'. While I can't say I 'loved' the episode (due to all the bad stuff that happened to Ace), I certainly appreciated that the show recognised Ace was an important enough character to revolve an entire episode around (other shows could do well to learn this about their animal characters). So although some of the stuff was unpleasant, I'd say this was probably one of my 'favourites' just because it focused on Ace (who I like), Bruce (and his bond with Ace) and Terry (who'd come a long way from when he couldn't stand Ace and vice versa...though I wished he'd stop referring to him as 'the mutt'). Thankfully, there was no school-related stuff/characters involved, which was a nice change. A good ending to the season. Dogs really are the best people.
The first episode of Season 3 was where I noticed the change in voice for Barbara Gordon from Stockard Channing to Angie Harmon (I'd read about it prior to this episode). The Royal Flush Gang were back. Did we always know the big guy was a robot? It was a shame there wasn't much Melanie in the episode. She'd left her criminal family, got a job, had ONE scene with Terry-as-Batman (but not Terry as Terry) where she asked about the letter and he basically said Terry wasn't interested, which was rough. She was by far the most interesting female character they'd introduced in this show, I thought, so it's too bad she was kind of underused. The King betrayed the Queen, Jack went to jail and the robot wound up in a fountain. I kind of got mad at Bruce for bringing Ace into fights like this, but he just clicked his fingers and Ace jumped out the car, tangled with the King for quite some time (it almost became comical how long they were rolling around on the ground together) and then eventually Ace brought Bruce back a piece of the King's outfit (I think). Melanie hooked up Jack (who'd been arrested) with a paying job, I was surprised he turned out to be half-decent, I liked the assistant woman to Son-of-Blight - she kicked butt the first time we saw her fight, but then the robot dude knocked her into a pool easily and Terry caught her later. Another waste of an interesting character. Adding to the list of female characters more interesting than Dana was the girl in the next episode who was in an electricity bubble of sorts and hung out with Terry, but at the end, after he was going to tell her he wasn't available, he found out she was with someone else (who, oddly, wore the same brown jacket he always did). I guess she had a replacement Terry. I also noticed in this episode there were a few instances of Terry patting Ace in the Batcave - which I was happy to see.
The following episode introduced Inque's daughter - who I didn't even realise was her daughter or was going to play an important part when it seemed like the episode was focusing on this random girl and her car being towed away. I did think they made a point of having her face resemble Inque's human face, which made me wonder what was going on there. Anyway, it was an interesting turn of events when she injected her mum with something that made her dissolve. That was quite 'dark' for the show too - a daughter cold-bloodedly 'killing' her mum. Though by the end Terry/Batman was like, "If anyone in Gotham ever REALLY dead?" and then the daughter was feeling haunted, like her mum was still around. The big giant eye watching her at the end suggested Inque wasn't dead, but it was getting a tad ridiculous how she kept coming back. This was another instance where I was pretty sure I knew who the voice of a character was - in this case the daughter - without having checked. It was bugging me for a while, trying to think why it sounded familiar, then I figured out it must've been Azura Skye (who I'd seen in quite a lot of guest star roles in shows. Most recently I saw her in episodes of Riverdale and the Charmed reboot). Her voice is very distinctive, though what was making me not 100% sure it was her was the fact that obviously this show was done quite some time ago, so her voice sounded 'younger'.
The next episode was a good one, possibly one of the best in the show. Why? Well, for starters it was written by Paul Dini who wrote some of the best B:TAS episodes, and this was no different. It was an interesting story, had amusing moments, real drama, unexpected twists and just genuinely felt like an old B:TAS episode. I'd been spoiled for the Batman musical (came across pics of it by accident), so that wasn't quite a surprise, but what did surprise me was that the music wasn't entirely terrible. There's a fine art to doing musicals in TV shows, as more often than not the songs are either forgettable/disposable or downright terrible. The singing at the start of this episode was actually kind of catchy...which made Bruce's grumpy "You hate me, don't you?" line to Terry all the funnier. Also amusing - their Catwoman looked like a cat from...well...the stage musical Cats.
What I wasn't spoiled for (or if I was, I'd forgotten it) was Talia showing up. I don't think it took me an embarrassingly long time to work out that why she still looked the same was because of the Lazarus Pit (so at least my memory isn't totally shoddy). I was just happy to see one character from B:TAS who basically looked the same as they did there (though with a different voice, sadly. Still...at least they remembered she had an accent). I was amused by how she just came into the Batcave casually, and even more amused by Terry's reaction to seeing her (remarking on her hotness) after entering whilst singing the song from the musical. It was interesting seeing Bruce's feelings about being old and how he wanted to regain his youth but was hesitant and the thing that changed his mind was him almost getting flattened by a truck as he tried to rescue a girl from some hoodlums who harassed him as he was trying to change a blown-out tire on his car. So, after Bruce became younger (albeit with grey streaks in his hair - which I guess should've been a tip-off what was going on), it was amusing seeing Terry witness how athletic he was (though, as he said, not quite his 'prime'), but then the twist came in the form of 'Talia' turning out to be Ra's al Ghul having had his consciousness put into her (basically meaning real Talia was dead) and he was now planning to take over Bruce's body (explains why he wanted Bruce's hair that way. Though what a dope - he had a hot young woman as his body which could've gotten him anything/everything!). I didn't see this twist coming, so that was a nice surprise (though now I vaguely recall having read something about it, but barely remember the details, so it was pretty 'new' to me anyway). It was funny seeing Ra's-as-Talia bitch-slap Bruce, and even funnier when Terry/Batman remarked how sick it was (what Ra's was planning to do) and Bruce made a comment about how Ra's-as-Talia had kissed him.
Anyway, in the end there was a cave-in and Ra's-as-Talia went back for his computer (or something?). I can't really recall. It was a nice goodbye that Bruce gave to Talia's image on his own Batcave computer screen (which he'd been looking at his old flames on at the start of the episode...though it was still -worthy to see Barbara as one), using her word for him - ie. "beloved", though it was sad Talia was gone (she always did have an unhealthy devotion to her psycho dad). All in all, this was easily the best episode so far of Season 3 and one of the best of the whole show, I thought. The next episode was the one with the talking gorilla...which I thought was going to turn out to be Grodd (like from The Flash TV series), but I guess that wasn't who it was? The flashbacks to the gorilla's childhood were quite sad, but the episode handled the storyline of a talking gorilla considerably well (again I ask...WHY did the freaking 'Eggbaby' episode win an Emmy and not something else?). The following episodes were a two-parter involving the future Justice League who...turned out to be a bunch of jerks for the most part (except for Aquagirl). It was quite a shock to see the first episode open on bright sunshiny Metropolis.
Then we met who I thought was the DC equivalent of Ant-Man saving (well...crashing) a train (which reminded me of the train crash at the end of Batman Begins). Turns out he didn't die, but wound up in a coma or whatever. I couldn't believe how jerky some of the JL were being to Terry. It seemed WAY overboard, but hey...at least Aquagirl invited him for a swim (which made his later comment to Bruce about having to save her life to get her to accept him odd - since she seemed pretty accepting of him before that). I figured Superman was the traitor before it was revealed, so that was no surprise, but I didn't expect Hawkjerk to seemingly bite the dust (it was kind of funny when his helmet hit Terry's windshield, as I thought to myself, "Shouldn't there be a disembodied head inside?"). Of course, in the second episode it was revealed Hawkjerk wasn't in his armour when the thing he was on exploded. I got sick of the woman (since I couldn't even be bothered to look up her name, I'll just call her Bitchywoman) kept demanding to know from Terry "What'd you do?" in an accusing tone - first with Aquagirl (after he just SAVED her), then I think she did it again with either Hawkjerk after he 'died' or with Superman after Terry managed to subdue him. I really wanted him to tell her to STFU...alas, that was never going to happen.
I vaguely knew of the starfish from having once seen a comic book cover with them on the faces of all the DC characters, so that wasn't too much of a surprise (I liked that we learned Superman had his own zoo for alien creatures he'd rescued from some collector alien guy), but what did surprise me was when the rocks were coming down and it looked like Terry was going to get hit/buried underneath them (whilst rescuing Aquagirl, no less), Superman (who now had a will of his own/was no longer being controlled) was all like, "Well...he knew what he was getting himself into." and sounded as though he didn't care that Terry and Aquagirl were quite possibly going to wind up trapped or dead due to the falling rocks. Hell, even Bitchywoman was like, "But Batman's down there!" (though what about your team mate, Aquagirl, Bitchywoman?). Anyway, it really was no surprise at the end of the episode when the JL were actually willing to accept Terry on the team and he basically told them all to shove it - I would've too if I'd been treated the way they treated him (though it'd be nice if he and Aquagirl - the only really decent one - teamed up/hung out in the future). Way to not make me a fan of the future JL, show!
Can't say I was that fussed on the last batch of episodes (I reached the end of the season/series without even realising). Terry's old friend who got turned into a monster, Big Time, returned and made it seem like he was perhaps going to turn over a new leaf, but then was like, "Nope, I LIKE being a monster!". About the only thing that really stood out to me regarding the Kobra two-parter was I immediately recognised the voice of Alexis Denisof (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and other things) as the voice of the Kobra leader, Zander (I wonder if it was a BtVS shoutout to have him voicing a character with that name since one of the mains in BtVS also had that name...albeit spelled differently. I imagine it was more just coincidence). It also featured dinosaur people - 'nuff said (though once again I was amused by Bruce's grumpiness towards Max and when it seemed like she was thinking of putting on the Batsuit, he called her back to tell her emphatically NOT to). UGH at the return of Mad Stan in the following ep. How I wished that lunatic had just blown himself up at some point and spared us ever having to hear him ranting/saying the word 'man' at the end of every sentence EVER AGAIN. Sadly, that was not to be. We met another interesting female character in the form of Ro, but as seemed to be the pattern with this show, the interesting female characters appeared and then disappeared. Though, oddly, I noticed Dana was missing from this last handful of episodes - I guess she never really did end up serving any sort of purpose after all. I thought eventually there'd be an unmasking of Terry and she'd find out, but instead it was just discussed between him and Max in the final episode, then he proceeded to tell her the story of how he did unmask himself one time to a kid (reminded me of Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man doing so in the first TASM film where it was a similar situation). The kid already annoyed me by running from someone who was there to SAVE him and making it as difficult as possible for Terry to do so, then he had to go blabbing on TV he'd seen Batman's face, got himself caught and would've given up Terry's secret identity but luckily substituted the face of his action figure for Terry's face. That was fortunate, but it made for a very ho-hum series final.
I certainly had misgivings about this series when I first became aware of it. Then, like I said in my first review, I saw the Mr. Freeze episode on my B:TAS Blu-rays and wasn't really blown away by it (nor was I fond of the opening credits either), but as I worked my way through Season 1 of this show, I got more into it. I still couldn't bring myself to refer to Terry as just 'Batman', though, and I always included his name with it or just typed 'Terry', as for me Bruce Wayne is as much Batman as Kal-El is Superman - it's hard to separate the two and think of any other character as them. There were some good episodes here and there (as well as some pretty average ones), some interesting characters (though some really annoying ones as well), and I actually ended up liking Terry quite a bit as well as his dynamic with grumpy old man Bruce. I still wouldn't put this above B:TAS - which I think is the version of Batman that has never been equaled. The reason why I think it's so popular is that it reached the perfect balance between the 'darkness' and the 'fantastical'. Like, you could have actual real emotional moments and good drama, but then also have outlandish things and OTT villains...but it all worked together. I don't think the movies have ever managed that. It's always seemed to be too much of one thing and not enough of the other (though I LOVE the Nolan Trilogy). Anyway, while this didn't reach B:TAS level, I think it was about on par with The New Batman Adventures series (which, oddly, was included as part of my B:TAS Blu-rays like it was a continuation of that show and not its own retitled series). I was glad I gave this show a chance (since I bought it on a whim). Now I just have the movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker left to watch (though it's apparently the 'edited'/alternate version. I guess since the series was rated 'PG' here, they didn't want to have to alter the rating to 'M' just because of the movie that was included with it, so to keep the rating as 'PG' on the complete series box set, they included the 'PG' version of the movie - which is rather annoying).
Previously I'd gotten to see the first episode on TV, but then the lousy channel which aired it here put the rest of the season on their site and it could only be viewed there, so I had to wait until the show was released on DVD before I got to see the remaining episodes (which was rather annoying). So as soon as it was released on DVD here, I immediately bought it and watched it from the start and finally got to see the remaining 5 episodes. That was quite a while ago (2018 to be exact). I just recently decided to watch it from the beginning with someone who hadn't seen it. So, now I think I've watched the first episode at least three times - it's just that good (at least I thought so). Agyness Deyn as DI Elaine Renko was the definite standout in the first episode (and the season as a whole, really). I loved her fight with a young guy who turned out to be her son (one of the few times I agreed with DCI Charlie Hicks in the episode was when he was asking what would cause her son to do what he did to her in that fight). It was such a great way to introduce Elaine Renko’s character. She really took a beating (complete with getting slashed repeatedly, stabbed in the gut and nearly being caught in an explosion).
I know there are certain people who have ‘issues’ with female characters fighting male characters, but I thought this fight was handled really well. They didn’t have her doing ‘fancy flips’ or any of that rubbish. It was a scrappy, dirty, and she even resorted to using her set of brass knuckles. I also appreciated how they presented her character as intelligent and taking initiative to work things out by herself.
The best part of the first episode, though, was the fight between Elaine and Charlie at the end. While I did understand Charlie wanting to protect his family, I was firmly on Elaine’s side throughout their fight.
Disappointingly, the rest of the season didn't quite live up to the quality of the first episode.
There was time wasted on characters who I really didn't care about, things seemed to veer off course a bit from what was set up by the end of the first episode/beginning of the second episode, and the main adversary of both Charlie and Elaine's was super-annoying to the point where I kept wishing they'd just end her already (even in the final episode, they had her at gunpoint and I kept telling them to shoot...but they didn't hear me, sadly). But getting back to the good points in the show...because it can't be said enough, Agyness Deyn was very impressive in her role, I thought.
She was believably tough, but also handled the emotional scenes exceptionally well. It was surprising to learn that she hadn't had much prior acting experience and was a supermodel, as I thought she handled this role like a pro. Just listening to her talk was rather captivating. Also good were the few amusing lines she managed to deliver in a perfectly deadpan manner as well as her various reactions to things other characters said. Also worth noting was the fact that she would often get beaten up (sometimes by Charlie - though she gave as good as she got), but maintained her wounds/scars for multiple episodes, which I appreciated. So many shows turn their lead characters into 'superheroes' (even when they don't actually have super powers) and they've miraculously healed from injuries that should've permanently crippled them, or at least left lasting scars, by the next episode. That wasn't the case here. Both Elaine and Charlie always seemed to have some sort of wounds, and then just as they'd start to heal...they'd receive some fresh ones.
While them only having batons at their disposal did raise some questions, I also kind of liked it (as every time they'd extend them, it was almost like igniting a lightsaber - that's what it reminded me of, anyway). Still, there were various occasions that carrying a gun really would've come in handy instead of having to grab one off someone else.
Their characters were very interesting in the way they dealt with their own personal issues/problems they had going on, things weren't 'simple' for either one of them, they both made questionable decisions, and towards the end of the season I was wondering how they were ever going to forgive each other for what they'd done/how they'd ever work alongside each other again since it seemed like they were on the verge of killing each other. Thankfully, though, they came around to seeing things from each other's point of view and were able to reach an 'understanding' of sorts. It was one of the most unconventional partnerships I've seen in a cop show, but that's what made it interesting. I remember when I watched my DVDs for the first time, I'd seen a couple of movies that featured Jim Sturgess in them - which was a bit coincidental, as I was watching him in this show at the same time. I didn't always like Charlie Hicks, but I thought Sturgess did quite well in the role.
While I did find the episodes after the premiere to be somewhat of letdown, I think I appreciated the show more after this rewatch of the whole six-episode season and actually quite enjoyed it. Being that it was a 'pre-apocalyptic police procedural' (as I saw it described somewhere), it gave us something different to the typical cop show and certainly didn't deserve the negative responses/reviews it received. The end of the season promised interesting things to come, which makes it disappointing that the show didn't get a second season (and it's even more infuriating that other shows which are complete rubbish keep getting renewed). At least I'll always have this one season to rewatch, and I'll forever be thankful for to the show for introducing me to Agyness Deyn as an actress/creating the character of DI Elaine Renko.
After having just recently finished watching Season 1 of the reboot (Roswell, New Mexico) on DVD, I thought the next logical step was to go back and revisit the original show which I bought the complete series DVD box set of ages ago and had started watching the first season of, but never finished. While I could've just picked up where I left off, I thought it'd been long enough that I'd probably forgotten stuff from my first rewatch and so I figured I needed a refresher. The Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) voiceover immediately started annoying me (it's like the Jughead voiceover from Riverdale all over again! Argh!). Also, this big major thing happens with her being saved from dying by an alien...and she writes it down in a journal (making promises not to share the secret means nothing if you've got all of it written down somewhere, Liz!). Anyway, as I mentioned in my review of the first episode of the reboot, in this version the café is full of people, so there's more tension in it when two guys get into an argument that turns into fisticuffs which quickly escalates to one pulling a gun. While everyone else is smart enough to duck for cover, Liz just stands there asking to get shot...which, naturally, she does. There's added stakes by having two alien enthusiasts there (one of which is played by "Hey, it's that guy!" guy, Kevin Weisman, who I've seen in many things but mostly associate with Alias).
Michael Guerin, who is with Max Evans (I always thought it was a weird coincidence how the two actors who played those characters - Brendan Fehr and Jason Behr - had lasts names that were one letter away from being the same...and both aren't exactly common last names either. Quite the coinkidink), quickly establishes himself as a character who is willing to let Liz die to keep their alien secret, as he tries to stop Max from healing her. Then comes the familiar part of Max healing the bullet wound with his touch and pouring ketchup to explain all the red on her (quick thinking, Max...except for the fact that her uniform has a bullet hole in it. This never seemed to occur to either this Max nor the reboot Max). I did remember the part of him telling her the cover story of spilling the ketchup and then he's out of there as quickly as possible (surprisingly, Michael doesn't slap him upside the head after their hasty exit) while Liz stares blankly and we're treated to the first of two instances where Sarah McLachlan's 'Fear' will be played on the soundtrack in the episode (it's repeated later - they must've really liked the song, most likely because it's quite moody). I respect the show for just getting straight into it/not wasting any time, the character of Maria DeLuca (played here by Majandra Delfino) made more of an impression in this first scene than the one from the reboot did throughout the entire first season of that show, and if I'm comparing the shooting/saving scene between the original and reboot...this original version easily wins.
Liz proves to be the worst liar (not even managing to come up with an excuse for the silver handprint on her midriff when her supposed b/f, Kyle, sees it. Never mind the fact that she should've been extra careful not to show that off, but she does it without thinking and then basically says, "Seeya!" with no explanation whatsoever. She's no better with the Sheriff when he's interrogating her later on), the worst boyfriend-user (Kyle actually isn't that bad a person in this first episode, which is where the 'other guy' is usually established to be an a-hole like Jocko Whitney was in Smallville, for example. When he walks Liz to her door and she pretty much says, "Thanks. Byeee!", you know she's not into him the same way he's into her), the worst at keeping secrets (she caves to Maria grilling her on what happened pretty easily) and the worst at coming up with plans (so she makes Sheriff Valenti believe someone else is leaving silver handprints with an elaborate scheme...but doesn't factor in that the silver paint they use will still be wet and immediately obvious) and just generally the worst. Ugh. As far as the character of Liz is concerned? For me, the reboot version easily wins.
We meet the other characters including Isabel (Katherine Heigl - before she torpedoed her career by apparently being a diva), Alex (son of Tom Hanks and lame villain from Season 6 of Dexter, Colin Hanks - who is far more likeable than the reboot's version was. And more memorable too. Sure, he's your typical nice 'dorkish' type, but that's still more of an impression than reboot Alex left after the first dozen or so episodes) and Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler - who I wasn't able to appreciate in this role when I originally watched the show, as I didn't really get 'nuance' back then and just thought of him as the 'bad guy', but upon rewatch I see that he was more than that. He notices the empty tabasco sauce bottles in the café, then later when he pulls over the alien trio in their Jeep, he sees the one at Michael's foot - great job hiding it, Michael! - and has Kyle fill him in on the silver handprint he saw on Liz's midriff, so he's actually a half-decent Sheriff and not as incompetent as cops are often portrayed in these types of shows...but then he gets slightly creepy when asking to see Liz's midriff, though at least he's smart enough not to be fooled simply by the fact that there's nothing there by that time, since the handprint that was found on a body in the past also disappeared. So, he knows that just because it's not there now doesn't mean it wasn't there at one point).
I had remembered Michael and Isabel as being 'harsher' than they actually were with their being pissed at Max for saving Liz and 'outing' them to Liz as well (if you wanted to blab about your own alien self to Liz, Max, then fine...but did you really have to do the same for the other two? Though, to be fair, asking about Michael and Isabel was already on Liz's list of questions when he answered before she had a chance to ask, so I guess she already suspected. But still...it's kind of funny how things escalate from Liz finding out about just Max to suddenly knowing about Michael and Isabel too, then Liz telling Maria about Max and her finding out about Michael and Isabel as well in no time). Compared to how the reboot version of Michael and Isabel intimidated Liz after she learned the secret, this pair weren't really that bad (the reboot versions looked like they were there to whack her). I did like Isabel showing she could do more than just mind stuff in this version. We saw her using her powers with food and being able to listen to music just by holding a CD (remember those?) to her ear, while reboot Isabel was stuck with mainly questionable mind-'influencing' powers, which was a bit lame. I think it takes a while for both their characters to ease up/not come on so strong, but we already get to see Isabel is capable of feelings by how much she wants to keep Max with her (since they're siblings) when he's going to turn himself in to protect them, as she's willing to listen to Liz's plan (though if she'd known how pointless it was, she might not have). They did give us a chance to feel sorry for all three aliens when at the Crash Festival that was on, complete with fake miniature UFO crashing and little fake aliens falling out, they watched through the fence as everyone cheered the fake aliens being on fire.
I think I was also a bit too harsh on Jason Behr in my review of the reboot when comparing him with the new version of Max. While I still don't think he's giving the greatest performance ever here, I was surprised that his Max attempts a joke at one point, can't help but grin slightly at Liz having actually written out a list of questions of what to ask once she's found out about him, and he isn't quite as dull/boring as I remembered him being (I'd forgotten that Max experienced memories from Liz's childhood when he healed her and then he mentions one later, which Liz doesn't seem that freaked out by...though she probably should be). I was amused by the shot of Isabel with one leg in the air whilst putting on her costume and was surprised by Alex's "nice cones" compliment later on. Maria, as previously mentioned, was one of the highlights of the episode as she got some of the best dialogue and was played by one of the better actors in the show out of the younger castmembers, I thought. However, the 'ironic segue' of her maintaining that she wouldn't flip out when Liz told her the secret and it cutting to her running away screamingly was pretty eyeroll-worthy in its obviousness. Buffy the Vampire Slayer perfected this type of joke, whereas this show has a ways to go before it has it down to a fine art. Though one joke this show did succeed at (and the reboot was sadly lacking) was the one with Liz asking where Max was from, him simply pointing upwards and her asking "Up North?", followed by her reaction to him pointing higher. Two other things worth mentioning - the lack of opening credits for this first episode (though the music that played over the end credits sounded like a version of the song 'Here With Me' by Dido, which would become the show's theme song from episode 2 onwards) and the fact that the reboot's version of the café uniform was pretty darn close to the ones Liz and Maria were wearing in this show. So, in conclusion, about the only thing I preferred in the reboot's first episode was the actress playing Liz. Other than that, this 'Pilot' episode pretty thoroughly kicked the reboot's arse.
The Liz voiceover has achieved the impossible - it's made me miss the Jughead voiceover from Riverdale. Hell, even the voiceovering in The Vampire Diaries was better than this. It's like Shiri Appleby's just reading the lines with as little feeling put into them as possible. When listening to the commentary for the first episode, I discovered that out of a heap of actresses they had audition for the role of Liz Parker, one was Carly Pope - how I wish they'd cast her in this instead. Anyway, this second episode is the one that introduces us to Kathleen Topolosky (I never even remembered her first name from the first time I watched the show, I only remembered her last name) played by Julie Benz who, of course, I was most familiar with from BtVS (and its spin-off, Angel). Considering this show only started a few years after BtVS, she looked decidedly more 'mature' here than she did in the first season of BtVS (still hot, of course, but I was surprised to see that she went from playing someone who was supposed to be high school age - at least appearance-wise - to playing someone in this show who is teaching high school students). This is the first episode to feature opening credits with Dido's 'Here With Me' as the theme song (I think I woke up one morning with that song stuck in my head thanks to hearing it at the start of each episode in this show - argh!). These opening credits aren't a patch on BtVS's, as I think most of the shots are just from the 'Pilot' episode (compare that to BtVS's opening credits for Season 1 that included shots from all 12 episodes of the first season) and aren't exactly that interesting (half of them seem to be Liz and Max looking at each other through glass). This is also the episode where Maria first comes up with referring to the trio of aliens as 'Czechoslovakians' to avoid using the word 'aliens' in public.
Meanwhile, Alex is understandably annoyed at being left out of conversations, as Liz and Maria don't let him in on the big secret. Their way of ensuring he drops it is by using a cover story of them discussing 'cramps' which they offer to go into detail about, but that understandably puts him off prying further. Someone else using a cover story is Michael, who wants to get access to Valenti's office, claiming to be selling candy for charity and whilst one of the people who work there is almost fooled, the Deputy (who is actually competent at his job) is not and throws Michael out. You'd think aliens would at least be able to jump up high, but instead Michael just climbs up the drain pipe or whatever it is and then is hanging from the window. Lame aliens! He finds a key that the Sheriff has hidden and experiences flashes of things when he touches it. It's not exactly thrilling stuff...but, hey, at least it's not as boring as Liz and Max in the 'eraser room' which is a place for not just cleaning erasers, apparently. I'm bored to tears by Liz/Max (the reboot's version aren't this boring), as their dialogue is so dull, has no wittiness/one-liners, and it's just lifeless (though Max does attempt a joke about what he and the other two looked like when they came out of their alien pods, mentioning a third eye, which Liz appears to look for on him). The only half-decent funny moment is Kyle spying on Liz/Max as they spy on Topolsky (who they think is suspicious because she keeps asking questions about Michael and such) where, from his perspective, it appears at one point like Liz is giving Max a BJ (I almost feel sorry for Kyle, since Liz is ignoring him/has no time for him and treats him pretty shabbily...though he does seem rather needy/clingy, which isn't a good look either).
More interesting than the Liz/Max snore-worthiness is Liz and Michael, who interact one-on-one when she goes to the trailer park where he lives, and after a not particularly good first impression is made by his adoptive dad, she warns Michael that Topolsky has a file on him and is asking questions. The reason why this interaction was more interesting was because it wasn't some yawn-worthy romance stuff. It was two characters who didn't really seem to get on well in the first episode (though that was more because of Michael who, along with Isabel, was rather hostile towards Liz after Max told her their secret - not that I can really blame them). It was good to see her try to help him out despite how he'd been towards her and him not being so hostile in return. Disappointingly, there wasn't much for Isabel to do in this episode other than pretend to have a flat tire and look sexy with both the Sheriff and the Deputy eager to help her change it (as she's providing distraction when Michael and Max are in the Sheriff's office). I guess the adults in Roswell have no problem thinking of students that way.
The third episode began with embarrassing 90's music (namely Christina Aguilera's 'Genie in a Bottle' - which is a song I've never liked, but it was funny thinking about how they probably included this song not long after it was first released) as Maria was singing along to it whilst driving, she passes Isabel who needs a lift on account of the Alienmobile breaking down, but when she offers her one, Isabel's bitchy about it, but eventually accepts, then tries to give Maria a working air conditioner in her car and better stereo sound...which she freaks out about (whereas I would've been over the moon if someone could magically make my air conditioner work) and this causes her to hit the back of a car that, naturally, belongs to the Sheriff (of all the people in all the world she could've rear-ended). While Maria was one of the stand-out characters in the first episode, she was annoying me with her OTT reactions to Isabel and the other aliens in this episode. I guess it was supposed to be 'comedic', but it just came off as WAY too much. However, it did lead to one amusing sequence later on, after the Sheriff says he wants to question Maria (he also asks for her insurance info. I'm not sure why he didn't get it when she hit his car. Also, she gives him crummy service by constantly asking "To go?" when he orders, more or less making it clear she wants him gone when he orders at the café. If it were anyone else, I'm sure they'd make a complaint to the manager, but it's clear he knows that Maria knows stuff about the alien trio and he's trying to come off as not-too-threatening, but she's still freaking out and is as horrible a liar as Liz is) and the alien trio are concerned about whether she's going to give them up to the Sheriff, so Isabel casually mentions to Max she's going to go poking around in Maria's dreams - where Liz's voice is even higher than usual, Max and Isabel are amusingly viewed as this pair of retro-looking aliens (which Maria describes negatively, but I personally thought Isabel still managed to look weirdly hot), she asks the Sheriff for help but he's ignoring her, then the Isabel who's invading her dreams remarks that it's interesting how Dream Michael is dressed all suave-like in a tux (which Maria claims keeps her calm around him), but then he turns into a gross-looking alien and she proceeds to do what she's been doing all this episode - ie. freaking out.
I don't know how Maria can be scared of them since they're too boring to be scared of. Also rather boring is Topolsky (who it turns out is supposedly the new school councilor) asking all the students, one at a time, a series of questions. They do that technique of quickly cutting between each one as they give their answers (this is all Alex gets to do in the episode), some of the answers are mildly amusing (it's funny how Isabel is totally "I'm hot, I know it, I want to make a career out of it. You work with what you're given."). Anyway, the main focus of the episode is everyone being concerned Maria's going to blurt the big secret to the Sheriff, but after witnessing Isabel with her adoptive parents, she uses that when the Sheriff questions her about Isabel. Maria says she's 'special', but that's because she comes from a good family (she gets teary at this point, which suggests maybe her own family ain't so great). The episode ends where it began - with Maria offering Isabel a ride (how crap are the the people at fixing cars if the Alienmobile is already broken down again?), and since Maria did good, Isabel's lightened up towards her (slightly).
I don't remember a whole lot from the fourth episode other than Max getting beaten up by jocks and told to stay away from Liz, so it's assumed that Kyle was behind it, but it then turns out he didn't order them to do it, they just took it upon themselves to rough Max up because Kyle had said he didn't like Max hanging around Liz (she breaks up with him later because he makes the mistake of defending his friends, saying they're not bad guys. Though, really, it'd seemed like Liz had been looking for an excuse to ditch him ever since she found out about Max, so I don't think there was any 'right' move he could've made here...but essentially saying, "My friends who beat the crap out of Max aren't so bad!" certainly didn't help). Michael gets some lame revenge on the jocks by causing super-itchiness and changing answers on a test (pretty juvenile stuff. Lamest. Aliens. Ever!). Liz's grandmother (played by the actress who was the evil mother of the villain in Kindergarten Cop, so it was weird seeing her play an actually decent person here) shows up and seems to mainly just want to talk about boys with Liz which is pretty shallow stuff, but then she has a stroke, Liz asks Max if he can heal her, he can't but allows Liz to see her ghost or whatever and say goodbye (the powers for these aliens are really unspecified. It's like the writers come up with a new one each week), and I guess it's okay her grandmother knows Max isn't normal since she's dead and won't be blabbing to anyone. Meanwhile, Maria tries to help out Liz by saying she'll cover for her at the café...but she's overwhelmed (doesn't help that one of the other employees is utterly useless), so she reluctantly asks Isabel for help, who is all "Nope!" until Maria pulls the "It's for Liz's sick grandma!" card (this was before she'd carked it, of course). There was a mildly amusing moment with Isabel leaning over Max in his bed after she's put on the café uniform and his reaction to it. It would also appear Maria's gotten more comfortable with Isabel using her powers, since she asks her to use them on a coffee she's serving someone. I recognised Marisa Ramirez from Blue Bloods as one of Isabel's friends who apparently thought less of her when witnessing her play waitress, so she basically drops them.
While some might compare this show to BtVS, which was on around the same time (though it started earlier than this show did), they're really not even in the same league. While BtVS had drama, action, comedy, some horror and some romance, this show seems to be mostly romance with hardly any of the rest, and consequently it's rather boring. For example, the fifth episode's storyline is about *GASP* Liz's journal going missing! Why does this take up an entire episode? Well, because she's written everything about the alien trio in it, of course (it was rather obvious from the very first episodethat'd come back to bite her in the arse). I will give the show credit for making me think it was her mum who moved it when cleaning her room (I couldn't understand why she didn't even ask her about it), Maria thinks Alex took it (and questions him, which ticks him off, so he vents to Topolsky), Max thinks Kyle took it (so they break into his place to search, but no luck) and then it turns out that Michael took it, as he wanted to see what Liz had written. Oddly, he seems cool with it. Not sure why, if Liz has written stuff about the alien trio in it, but he gives it back to her and she stops writing in it and tosses it away continues writing in it (but, hey, at least now she's found a hidey-hole for it). Michael's also obsessed with drawing a dome thing that he saw when touching the key he stole from Valenti's office. Considering he was all about not drawing attention to themselves beforehand, it does seem a bit hypocritical of him to be drawing/painting something related to their alien selves for all to see (though I think he points out how it wouldn't really mean anything to anyone). They eventually find where the dome is located.
The sixth episode was where things finally got a bit more interesting (and Maria's hair has grown somewhat, which makes it look better than the extreme short 'do she started out with. According to the first episode commentary, the actress had cut it short and FedExed it to her mother because they were having a row or something - which would've been a good in-show explanation for Maria's hair, since it appears she has issues with her mum too), which begins with the three humans being paired with the three aliens in class when there's an assignment involving getting to know each other (Liz/Isabel, Max/Kyle and Michael/Maria) - though it's shown that Topolsky was behind the pairings (as she wants to discover more about the alien trio). A large part of what made this episode more interesting than what had come before was the Michael/Maria pairing, as they're quite fun together. He tries to steal her car (as he's desperate to get to the place with the big dome he'd been drawing everywhere like a crazy person), she gets in and then starts panicking about him kidnapping/abducting her, they share banter, Maria tells him to do the speed limit, he ignores her, then once they get pulled over, he blames her for it (jerk!), but Maria gets them out of trouble with her story about being in desperate need for a pee (so, after his jerky behaviour towards her, she saves both their butts), she learns he's not as skilled with his powers as the other two, he ends up burning the car's engine, so they stop at a motel, Maria comments how the room looks like the porno version of Aladdin and it's no surprise these two characters ended up getting involved since both actors have chemistry and are far less boring together than Liz/Max. Speaking of, Max has to deal with Kyle asking him questions for the assignment, but he's so bitchy/snarky/sarcastic about it that it makes things mildly amusing. Another unexplored dynamic that we get to see more of in this episode is Liz and Isabel, since the latter has never seemed overly fond of the former - as evidenced when Liz tries to do something nice by bringing her a drink and they have an accident, spilling it over each other. Isabel amusingly cleans herself with her powers, but not Liz...that is until they discuss Max, Liz thinks the reason why Isabel's been so hostile towards her is because she thinks Liz is going to take Max away, then she wonders if that's what Isabel's going to do and I guess this is them coming to an 'understanding' of sorts, because Isabel finally cleans Liz with her powers.
At the motel, Maria's on the bed and Michael is on the floor beside it, then when the others turn up there, Maria rolls off the bed in shock/surprise and onto Michael who pretends they got it on by calling Maria 'Honey', she gives him some ineffectual light slaps/hits, and Isabel knows he’d never say 'Honey' so she believes Maria that nothing happened between them. Then Kyle turns up, things get a bit rough between him and Michael (when he shoves Kyle away, he acts like it's some big feat of strength, but it didn't look like an overly 'alien' shove to me), Liz tells him he’s not part of what they're doing and basically says bugger off, then he says something I can't help but agree with - that he doesn't get what he ever saw in her. I know Kyle's supposed to be the 'jerk' in this situation, but really it's Liz (and Michael) who comes off as the most jerky here. Anyway, eventually they track down the dome, it appears Michael's ready to give up as soon as the key doesn't work on the door (Max uses his powers to open it instead and says the key may work on something inside. It's funny to think they came all that way and Michael was ready to give up so easily), they go in, Michael tries to get the key to show him flashes again, which doesn't happen until Maria gives him some encouragement, then they find a secret door, go down it and there's a bunch of stuff that is more or less what they're looking for. However, then the Sheriff arrives up above them, but he's knocked out by Topolsky and this is supposed to be some kind of cliffhanger, I guess, since 'To be continued' comes up on the screen...but it's not exactly nail-bitingly tense or anything. Still, this was the first episode since the 'Pilot' which I quite enjoyed, and that was thanks to all the characters coming together and because we got to see different pairs/dynamics to what we had previously. One thing I noticed (either in this episode or the next one) was that Michael seems to switch between calling Max 'Maximillian' and 'Maxwell' (which is 'Max' short for?! This is more intriguing than the lame 'cliffhanger'!).
The next one picks up right where the last one left off and Michael proves to be not very stealthy, since he makes noise while the others are telling him to stop, but he reckons they're eventually going to be found and he's looking for stuff until they are (so...he wants them to get found out sooner rather than later?), they discover a convenient tunnel and escape out through it, but not before grabbing what they can (Isabel grabs a necklace with a symbol on it. It would've been funny if Maria just grabbed something because everyone else was grabbing things and she wanted a souvenir too/didn't wish to be left out), Topolsky follows and emerges at the end of the tunnel just in time to see the Alienmobile pulling away. At school, Liz takes Kyle to a janitor's closet, he says it’s ironic, she doesn’t get why, he reminds her that it’s where they had their first kiss the previous year (ouch. Mustn't've been that memorable), she attempts to manipulate him by saying how it was a great day or whatever and once again I find myself siding with Kyle (I enjoy his sarcasm) as he tells her to not even try that shit, since he knows she's only saying that because she wants to make sure he doesn't tell anyone about them all being at that motel together and what went on (what DID go on, exactly? I mean, besides getting shoved by Michael, it's hardly noteworthy). He reassures her that he won't say anything to anyone...not until he finds something to 'destroy' (I think that's the word he uses) Max. I guess I'm supposed to think of him as a 'bad guy' here, but I can totally understand why he's feeling/acting the way he is. You suck, Liz!
The necklace Isabel took has a symbol that they try to find out the meaning of, it leads to some Native American folk who're all mysterious about it, one comes to arrange a meeting with Liz, telling her to come alone...so, naturally, she brings Max, the guy (Eddie) says there'll be a test, they follow the elder called River Dog, there's something involving them going into caves where there's no light, Liz screams (drama queen), Max has light-up hands, apparently that was the test, they're shown cave drawings that depict UFO happenings, they're told of an alien who killed a guy and River Dog tells Liz to make sure Max is worthy of her trust and...I couldn't be more bored. Slightly more interesting is Michael, Maria and Isabel being stuck at the café, waiting to hear how Liz/Max have fared, and finally Maria asks them what the deal is with the tabasco sauce they pour onto everything they eat (I'd been waiting since the start for Liz or Maria to ask about that. Surprised it took this long) and Michael explains they like things extremely spicy and extremely sweet together - which explains why he's tipping it on cake. Hey, as weird as it might appear to others, at least it's not as suspicious as the reboot having the aliens guzzle nail polish remover. It was good to see the three of them interacting, as it's usually Maria and just one of them together, but Maria plus both? That was something different. Earlier in the episode it'd been clear to Liz that Maria was developing a thing for Michael and clear to Isabel that he was interested in Maria despite claiming not to be. Meanwhile, Topolsky does Tai-Chi and gets yelled at by her boss played by Richard Schiff.
The next episode was also interesting, since it focused on Colin Hanks' character, Alex, who'd kind of been neglected prior to this/hadn't much to do, but thanks to a random horse causing Liz/Max to be in an accident whilst driving the Alienmobile (and thank goodness for that horse bringing an end to Dullsville aka Liz voiceovering about her and Max liking the same song on the radio and it having some big/deep meaning or whatever. It says how little I care about them when I was more worried about the horse. Thankfully, the horse is fine...Max? Not so much. What kind of aliens can be taken out by a simple car crash? At least Earth doesn't have to worry about them invading with superior forces, since they can apparently be defeated quite easily) and because no one wants Max's alien blood being discovered, they call on Alex (actually, Maria does the calling on him and takes him away from his nerd band), Liz pulls out the best friend card (how can he be her 'best friend' when Maria is obviously her best friend? Seems he's under the delusion that he's Liz's 'best' friend but doesn't realise he's pretty low on the totem pole of people Liz regards as 'friends'. Hell, he's probably barely above Michael and Isabel at this point), asks him for his blood (would've been the perfect opportunity for a BtVS reference) and then is going to extract it from him herself but clearly isn't qualified judging from her shaky hand, so Isabel does it, getting Alex to look away, and uses her powers to speed up the process of taking his blood. You'd think this would've earned him access to the secret alien club and being let in on the big secret...but, no, Liz just tries to get him to leave straight after, he rightfully points out that considering what he just did for her/Max, he deserves to know the truth, Michael is his usual tactful self and tells him bluntly to get gone, so it's no wonder Alex gets pissed off at Liz in this episode - he has every right to, since she just used him for his blood and then wants to discard him.
Meanwhile, it's Michael's job to switch the blood samples and he already used his 'charm' earlier on to convince a nurse to let them stay with Max when they all came to pay him a visit and she said there were too many people, then when he wants to switch the blood samples he steps it up a notch by flat-out asking the nurse on a date. This isn't the first instance where an adult character has shown an interest in one of the student characters on this show, and it seems the only thing stopping her from jumping his bones right there is him not yet being 18 (HA! No one in this show looks under 18! Still, at least it's not Season 1 of Smallville levels of ridiculousness where Clark was supposedly 15 - now that was laughable), but as soon as Michael turns 18, she wants him to call her (which he says he will do, but obviously he has no intention of doing so). As kind of creepy as this interaction was, at least it was entertaining and less frustrating than watching poor Alex continue begging Liz to tell him the truth and her telling him again and again that she can't until finally she just lies and says it's drugs. And as if he's not already having a crap enough day, when he goes to sit with Kyle and eat his lunch, he gets crap from him too on account of him thinking that Liz has sent Alex there to check whether he's going to say anything about the motel incident (WHAT motel incident? You got shoved by Michael into a wall - big deal!). Alex really should've spoken up and said something like, "Would you shut up for a second? I'm as clueless as you clearly are, so why don't we team up and discover the secret Liz is keeping together?", but Kyle's being too much of a jerk to give him any chance to say that. Topolsky's watching on and pretends to be a friend to Alex, but drugs him so he'll get a nose bleed and she collects the paper he uses to plug his bloody nostril after he's tossed it in the bin (ew) so she can compare it with the blood sample that was supposedly Max's but she learns is in fact Alex's, thus confirming the swapsies that her fellow FBI goons reported back to her.
Alex's day doesn't really improve, since Liz attempts to use their supposed 'friendship' to get him to trust her, she then uses him again later on - this time he's searching Topolsky's computer for stuff while Liz keeps her distracted/out of her office, but it seems being a decent distraction is another thing Liz sucks at (add that to the the ever-growing list), Topolsky realises what's going on and returns to her office to catch Alex in the act, he turns her laptop towards her to show FBI stuff on it and apparently this leads to her quitting her job. Shouldn't she be getting them both kicked out of school for invading her office and private property? Anyway, it becomes clear that Liz has always taken Alex for granted since we hear the story of when they met (she thought it was 5th grade but he corrects her that it was 4th, she just didn't notice him until 5th - that should've been your first indicator she just wasn't that into you, Alex). For what already feels like the hundredth time, he begs her to tell him the truth, offering her an ultimatum in the form of if she doesn't tell him, he's going to walk...and that's exactly what happens. At least this episode gave Alex some screentime to make up for his lack of it in the first 7 episodes, Colin Hanks is easily one of the better actors on this show and it was interesting listening to the commentary for this one, as the director was lamenting about how this was his final episode. I'm not sure why that was - whether he got fired, quit or just wasn't available to do anymore, but he sounded disappointed that this was the end for him, though he was happy his final ep was Alex-centric (he heaped praise on Colin Hanks). Other things going on in the episode involved Michael/Maria continuing their sexual tension after their time spent at the motel in the two-parter by winding up at another motel when investigating Topolsky's FBI goons. Michael's his usual dickish self and Maria's actually helpful by suggesting checking the bin where they find a phone number and then call it, which has Topolsky on the other end - thus informing them she's FBI. Naturally, when they tell the others, Maria points out to Liz she was the one with the idea and how Michael got close to her while they listened in on the phone, as Michael makes out to Max and Isabel that he was the one with the idea and Maria was the one hanging all over him.
The ninth episode was one I actually recalled from my first attempted rewatching of this show. I recalled it being a heat wave (hence the episode title) and apparently heat makes everyone horny? Michael/Maria do lots of snogging, Liz/Max want to do lots of snogging and, hell, even the Sheriff is horny for Maria's mum (who we meet in this episode) it would seem (other than the Sheriff, she's the only parent character who's left any sort of impression. Liz's parents and Max/Isabel's adoptive parents aren't that memorable - though at least I recognise the actor and actress who plays the Evanseses). Anyway, Liz sees Alex talking to the Sheriff at school, Isabel spends some quality time with Liz as they're doing their nails (how far they've come since the 'Pilot') and uses her powers to take a colour from Liz's sandals to create a nail polish colour (this is the sort of thing these aliens use their powers for? So lame). Isabel and Max are concerned with what Alex's been talking to the Sheriff about, so Isabel does the only thing she can think of, which is to ask him invade his dreams, where she discovers to her surprise he's been dreaming about himself looking suave in a tux and acting all smooth while Isabel's in a sexy red dress, and they dance together. Real Isabel, who's witnessing all this, looks amusingly shocked. It's a nice sequence and shows that apparently her taking his blood in the prior episode must've left an impression. She then uses this knowledge of him having the hots for her to get him to go to a party so she can find out what he's told the Sheriff. It's a shame she has ulterior motives, as they're quite good together (and as if Alex needs to be jerked around any more than he already has been lately). Unfortunately, she overplays her hand and he soon realises what she's up to.
Then, as if things weren't bad enough, the idiot band who are playing cause a fire, cops raid the place, then both Liz and Alex get stuck with booze bottles in their hands (it was kind of funny watching Max slip out unnoticed, leaving Liz to be arrested along with Alex). To top things off, poor Alex is stuck in a cell with the idiot band members (who get to go free, and it becomes clear the Sheriff is only keeping Liz and Alex so he can get info out of them). I think I almost cheered when Alex finally lost it at Liz, telling her to shut up after her blithering on at him incessantly wanting to make sure he wouldn't talk. He's so over not being told the truth, so he drops some truth-bombs on her - mainly about how shitty a friend she's been to him. Then comes a weird exchange where she tearily sort of tells him the truth, or rather half-truths, even resorting to Max's signature pointing move (Alex thinks this means they're Canadian) and it seems like kind of a cheat, that she more or less says Max, Michael and Isabel are aliens, but Alex doesn't believe her...though he believes that she believes it, and this is somehow satisfying enough for him to forgive her/move past his anger at her? I guess he was still riding high off his successful smackdown of the Sheriff about detaining a 'minor' for no good reason and that's why he seemed happy enough with what Liz had told him, since they were now both free. I know eventually he's going to find out that Liz wasn't making up the alien thing, but it seemed almost too easy that this was enough to satisfy him considering he'd been so mad at her for lying to/using him. In other news, Michael reckons he and Maria can't be together or whatever, she gets upset, I can't recall if they make up after or not, then in the final scene Max pays Liz a visit on her balcony by walking up a ladder which she seems to think is some amazing feat but what would've actually been impressive would've been if he'd done a flying leap up there instead (seriously, what kind of lame aliens are these?) and the episode that started with snogging ends the same way, as they finally get to have one (uninterrupted). It says how little I care about their first snog when I paid much more attention to the fact that it's quite amusing when the characters in this show whip out their big bulky mobile/cell phones (though they're not quite as hilariously large as the ones Mulder & Scully used in the early days of The X-Files).
The tenth episode begins with Liz's annoying voiceover being extra annoying because she's going on about how some days everything annoys (gee, I wonder what that's like?), but for her the day is great because she snogged Max, while for Maria the day sucks (I can relate) and she's complaining about Michael after their sort-of breakup. I was amused that when Liz was fetching Max his favourite drink and she asked Maria what Michael's was, she answered the same thing but with arsenic. Even funnier was Liz giving Max his drink on the house while Maria said Michael had to pay $1.25 (which answers whether they were officially broken up or not), he spills the drinks and sees cave markings on pages that Max has been hiding, then as Michael often does, he storms off in a huff. This provides Maria with Exhibit A in her reasons she's giving Alex to stay away from the aliens. I'm actually surprised with how the show went about Alex learning that the aliens were really real aliens, as he didn't seem to believe it when Liz told him and it's not until later when him and Isabel are chatting and she changes ketchup into mustard that it becomes clear to him that Liz was telling the truth. I thought the reveal would've been a bigger deal, but whatever.
Michael storms onto Native American land and demands to speak with River Dog, he repeats the demand to the old lady who's ignoring him and the dog that looks at him probably thinks he's talking to him since he says the word 'dog' twice, then Eddie appears to inform Michael that the old lady ain't deaf, she's just ignoring him, but Michael persists and Eddie points out the sweat tent Michael can’t go in, since it’s apparently 'intense'...but Michael being Michael, he does (totally just an excuse for shirtlessness), there's a cleansing ritual going on, he drinks from a bowl that everyone else does, he coughs/splutters as a result, and that's what he gets for not listening. At the UFO Centre, Alex blurts out a comment about the aliens finding their home planet or something to Isabel and not only does this tick off the UFO Centre owner, but especially Isabel since he begged and begged to be let in on the big secret and then not long after he's known, he's blurting out stuff like this which could expose them. Michael collapses and violently shakes on the floor, then his eyes go funky, so Max covers them with sunglasses (wouldn't all the people standing around think that's a weird thing to do to someone who's clearly in need of medical care?), Alex wants to help, but Isabel's all, "Back off, Blabbermouth.", Michael's now officially sick as a result of the sweat tent cleansing ritual (maybe this'll teach him to listen? Probably not), the others don’t know what to do, so Max and Liz go back to see Eddie who tells them River Dog is pissed at Max for sharing information or something (I wasn't totally following that part), Max gets physical with Eddie because he's worried about Michael and this is the first time I can really recall Max acting this way - so he is capable of showing more than one emotion.
Meanwhile, Isabel snaps at both Maria and Alex when Maria and she have a disagreement about how to help Michael and Alex offers his help. Elsewhere, Max is telling Liz the story of him and Isabel as kids meeting up with Michael, how he offered his hand but he wouldn’t take it (so even as a kid Michael was a stubborn ass), they didn’t see him again for three years. Maria and Isabel bond over their caring about Michael, he starts having seizures and Isabel tells Maria to fetch Alex (despite her being a jerk to him earlier), Michael winds up with white eyes and covered in cobwebs, eventually they take Michael to River Dog in the hopes he can make him better, there's a ritual involved which requires all of them (it was a very 'human' moment when Alex asked "Even me?", since he no doubt had felt like an outsider since learning the secret and now was getting fully involved), but Liz chickens out (thanks, Liz!), there are visions, weird camera angles, Michael thanks those who've come to help him by shaking hands with Alex, kissing Maria, getting a hug/kiss from Isabel, then when it gets to Max, Liz is suddenly there - I don't fully understand what was supposed to be happening, but this time young Michael takes young Max's hand that he offers him (though it switches between them as kids and adults) and the alien trio walk off together hand-in-hand as both kids and adults. Suffice to say, Michael gets better, but Liz/Max's relationship gets worse as it seems like they kind of break up. We also learn the name of the fourth alien that River Dog talked to Max about previously is Nasedo (that name is one of the things I remembered from when I originally watched the show all those years ago).
The eleventh episode begins with Max and his mum in the kitchen, a fire suddenly starts, he gets her out of the way and does his alien hand thing to put out the flames (though apparently tells her he threw water on it to put them out - which will prove to be a mistake later on). Michael, in his typical fashion, freaks out (what, did he want Max and Isabel's mum to burn? Well, since he was seemingly fine with letting Liz die after she'd been shot in the first episode, I guess this attitude from him should come as no real surprise)), has an 'adults are the enemy' mentality, Max says Michael thinks everyone is 'the enemy' (so Michael's like Kathy Bates who thought everything/everyone was 'the devil' in The Waterboy?), Michael says hi to Maria as she passes them in the hall at school and she amusingly replies "Whatever." (clearly still pissed at him - and with good cause!). I was also amused by Isabel coming into Max's room at home and mentioning how he only plays Counting Crows (remember them?) when he's really sad (I'll have to attempt to take note if they're ever played again whenever Max is in one of his really mopey moods). Although Liz/Max sort of broke up...they apparently snogged something like 10 times according to Max. He maintains that he’s fine, as does Liz to Maria at the café (though clearly she isn't since she's overcleaning a glass and then overfilling the coffee machine. This moment is worth it just for Maria's reactions). The Sheriff investigates the fire, and finds it hard to believe that Max put out flames that were five feet high (according to his mum) with just one pot of water (Max sucks at cover stories). It was weird when Max's mum seemed to not know who Liz was when the Sheriff mentioned her, since she'd met Liz at the hospital in the episode with the random horse-caused car accident (bad continuity!). She and the Sheriff have vague discussions of Max's 'specialness'. Someone who's currently not thinking Max is so 'special' is Liz, who is still pissed at him and cheering on Kyle at a basketball game. As Max looks on and is his usual mopey self, Liz distracts Kyle who gets injured/breaks his ankle (thanks, Liz!) and so now it appears she 'cares' about him (whereas she never seemed to before - and that's only on account of her currently being mad at Max. I'm sure if she wasn't mad at him, she wouldn't have even gotten up from her seat after Kyle received a severe injury - she'd be too busy making googly eyes at Max).
Isabel is trying to convince Max to let their mum in on the big secret, but Michael is (of course) violently opposed to that and of course Max takes his side. Maria is trying to make some wooden thing in class, Michael compliments it until he learns it’s not a shoe tree, but she’s mad he hugged his fellow aliens and not her when they all helped save him with the ritual in the previous episode. She adds that she helped drag his ungrateful arse out to the caves, getting dirty as a result, and didn't even receive a thank you in return. He gives her one, but naturally it's too late now. Later on they play tug of war with Maria's wooden creation since Michael wants to use his powers to make it into the napkin holder she wants it to be but this just results in them breaking it. He's then going to use his powers to fix it and this makes her MORE pissed at him. Meanwhile, Isabel’s really desperate to let her and Max's mum (who is watching home videos of young Max and Isabel playing with birds) in on the secret. Liz brings food to Kyle, he guilt-trips her, making out that he’s going to miss a season of basketball, she admits her part she played in him getting injured, it turns he was lying and he won't be out of commission for too long (didn't he find himself a new g/f in a previous episode? What happened to her? The continuity in this episode seemed really off). They seem okay now, on the road to being friends, Max watches (mopey as ever), Michael angrily throws a stone into a quarry after learning about the bird video Max and Isabel's mum has been watching (since she's shown Max the part where he seemingly healed a bird with a broken wing and it flew off), Michael wants to destroy the video so it's their word against hers, they all fight over whether or not to tell her the secret, Liz had already given Max a speech about him being controlling and Isabel agrees with that, saying that he always has to have the final word...then he promptly informs her they won't be telling their mum the secret and THAT'S FINAL (how un-self-aware is Max?). He then follows Michael's lead and angrily throws a stone (if Michael jumped off a cliff...would Max? I'm sure if Liz did, he would). It was not nice of the two guys to be such jerks to Isabel and I liked seeing how much she cares for her adoptive human mother. At the end, Max talks with his mum at the park, there's a toy house involved (hence the episode's title), they seem to reach an understanding of sorts (it's not clear how much she now knows about him, but she's not going to continue to push him for information), it was kind of sad seeing Isabel be all hopeful that he'd told their mum, only to be informed that he hadn't and then I think they hug (I can't recall for sure). As for Michael and Maria, he makes her a napkin holder by hand (no powers), but she doesn't use it to pass her class and he wonders why, since according to him it redefined the term 'napkin holder', but I guess for her it was the thought that counts.
The twelfth episode begins with a 'sighting' of an alien supposedly, at school Maria's wearing an 'aqua bra' which accentuates her boobs and catches the attention of most of the guys at school (including Alex, who's making movie plans with Isabel), she's apparently over guys, Liz is totally with her on that...to begin with, anyway, but can’t stay away from Max, there's a school camping trip planned that involves not only the students but their fathers as well, the alien trio want to check out the sighting, so that's why they decide to go (whereas they hadn't wanted to before. And, really, who could blame them for not wanting to go on a camping trip with their dads? Speaking of dads, I noticed Max and Isabel's dad was recast this episode), Isabel cancels movie plans with Alex, but then he drags his dad along so he they can join her on the camping trip, Kyle's all shitty with his own dad for not having the time to go, but then he changes his mind when he realises this'll give him an opportunity to investigate the alien trio, Maria lies to Michael and Max that she and Liz have dates, but then they end up going on the camping trip as well, Michael obviously didn't learn after getting sick from River Dog's sweat tent cleansing ritual and is still bugging him with questions, thinking he may be his alien father (this is after Michael's been a dick to Max and Isabel about their adoptive parents), but River Dog says he's not after he breaks his ankle (Kyle can sympathise) and Michael heals it, Liz's dad thinks she's taking drugs when in fact she's just taking medicine for her cold, the alien trio find a symbol and realise Nasedo has reappeared, the Sheriff who never believed his dad about aliens goes to visit him in the old folks home (why did the guy have to point Valenti's dad out to him? I would think he'd know what he looked like) and...this wasn't exactly a thrilling episode.
The next episode was slightly better, as it involved a UFO convention with the UFO Centre Max works at getting a lot more attention thanks to Jonathan Frakes (Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation) showing up as himself (he's also apparently an executive producer on this show I think I saw in the credits). An alien hunter guy turns up, he's after the alien who he thinks took the shape of a drifter who he killed because he killed his wife, the Sheriff’s dad was with him, the alien hunter thinks it was Max, takes him to the place his wife got killed, he's going to shoot Max, Michael turns up, Max uses his powers to get the gun away from the alien hunter as they struggle on the ground, Valenti shows up, shoots the alien hunter, Max wonders what he told the alien hunter guy to make him come after them, and Valenti tells them to go, as he's going to cover for them. This was one of the first instances showing that Valenti wasn't really a 'bad guy' and he actually had the alien trio's backs...yet they still don't trust him after this, which is a bit annoying. In other slightly more amusing news, Max was asking Michael how to stop Liz being in slow-mo whenever he saw her, Michael's solution was...to think about mud - which he himself uses when he's about to get hot and heavy with Maria, whose mum is in need of a wrestler for a thing going on at the UFO Centre, so Michael takes the place of the one who is missing (after making a not-so-great first impression on Maria's mum when he met her). Alex is still pursuing Isabel, who reckons he’s suffocating her, he goes to vent at the café, but Liz, Maria, Maria's mum and the female half of the alien enthusiasts from the first episode are all there venting about men in general, so Alex is kind of outnumbered/not going to get the sympathy he was looking for The male half of the alien enthusiasts, meanwhile, it making known to everyone his theories about Max being an alien, so Michael uses his making-people-itchy trick to add to the guy's already crazy-seeming demeanor.
The next episode starts with Maria having signed up Liz for a blind date radio thing and she's immediately accosted by a camera crew and an annoying dude shoving a mic in her face. Meanwhile, Alex's nerd band needs a singer, Maria volunteers and almost instantly wants to take control of the band, while Kyle is actually being decent to Max for a change on account of Liz being fixed up on a blind date, so now Kyle reckons he and Max can commiserate over both being dumped by Liz, with Kyle saying how she moves onto other guys and is a maneater. Michael wants to find/contact Nasedo and gets Isabel to join him since Max ain't interested and is too busy being the designated driver for Kyle and his friends who are all drunk (though they drove over there whilst drunk - not very safe), apparently Kyle's kind of a happy drunk since he's getting along with Max pretty well, he then offers him a sip from his flask and that's all it takes for Max to get sloshed (I guess alcohol affects aliens differently to humans?), he rambles about there being two Max's and one being the 'true' Max or whatever, and Kyle wonders if the 'true' Max is gay. While this is happening, Liz is on her blind date with the guy she's been fixed up with, he seems okay, though kind of bland...then again, Max is pretty bland too (and so is Liz), Max and Kyle break into Liz's place, go through her stuff (including her underwear drawer, I think), somehow the camera crew wind up there along with Liz and her blind date, who has a lame fight with Kyle while Max takes her outside and uses his powers to create their initials on a wall complete with a heart and arrow through it (clearly when he's drunk he doesn't care about using his powers in public), and I noticed Liz seemingly had glitter on her face for some strange reason. Maria's been taking over the band, which Alex isn't happy about, and for some reason they kept cutting away every time we were about to hear her sing which made me wonder if maybe she couldn't actually sing, but then towards the end she's on stage with the band, Max, Liz, her blind date and Kyle all wind up joining them, the annoying dude with the mic asks Liz how she feels about Max kidnapping her and vandalizing her home, then tries to get her to choose between the three guys on stage with her. We finally get to hear Maria sing and she's pretty good. Elsewhere, Isabel is with Michael who has burned a symbol on the ground in the hopes of it summoning Nasedo or whatever, but he doesn't show...until the end where he burns a photo of the alien trio in the flames of the symbol which he reignites. We just see him from behind as he walks off.
In the fifteenth episode, Michael has a black eye (that's not some dark shade of blue, but is in fact literally black) courtesy of his adoptive dad (Hank) who obviously abuses him, he gets Max to heal it and promise he won't tell anyone else about it...so, naturally, Max tells Isabel, once Michael learns that Max's word don't mean shit, he gets all huffy (which is pretty much his default setting) and remains in that sort of mood for most of the episode. Max and Isabel stop by the trailer park where they interrupt Michael and Hank in the middle of a fight (brought on because Michael refused to do the laundry), Michael ends up using his powers right in front of Hank, who freaks out (I liked the part where Isabel was threatening him if he touched Michael ever again) and they get out of there quick-smart. Michael thinks the jig is up, but as Isabel points out, Hank's a perpetual drunk and so no one would believe him if he told anyone what he saw, she and Max invite Michael to stay with them, clearly he wasn't getting to eat much where he was living since he puts plenty of food on his plate and is ready to chow down until Isabel points out they usually wait until everyone's seated before they start eating (I think Michael asks why), then when Mrs. Evans offers Michael something, he doesn't want it, Isabel encourages him to try it, he sniffs it, doesn't change his mind (I can relate. I hate it when people try to force you to try something you know you're not going to like just from the smell of it), then later they play a game of Monopoly which has been responsible for many a heated argument since its conception - and that's no different here, as Michael owes Mr. Evans money and reckons he'll pay next time but that's not how the Evanseses play Monopoly and once again this game causes problems, as Michael walks off in the only way he knows how (ie. a huff), Isabel chews him out for his rudeness, then there's a good scene with him standing out in the rain outside Maria's and eventually she lets him in, they just rest on her bed together as he breaks down and when her mum finds them in the same bed the next morning, she kicks him out and has a talk with Maria (another good scene), they argue for a bit, but it becomes clear Maria's mum is just worried about her daughter turning out like her, as she hasn't had much luck with men, plus she's currently having sexytimes with Valenti - who Maria and Liz interrupt earlier on when they're clearly in the middle of something judging by the Sheriff doing up the zipper on his pants. Maria's reaction to it is quite funny, as is the fact that they seemed to only be able to afford two sets for Maria's house - her tiny kitchen and her bedroom. It really stood out to me. This was a good episode for the characters of Michael and Maria (plus Maria's mum). Liz/Max, as usual, were snore-worthy. In the end, Mr. Evans help Michael get emancipated while Nasedo has offed Hank and assumed his identity long enough to inform the Sheriff that he (pretending to be Hank) will be leaving (this is to explain Hank's sudden absence).
The sixteenth episode was sadly a step down from the previous one, since the writers seemed to think, "You know what we didn't have enough of in the last episode? Liz/Max snogging! So let's make an entire episode about that!". It begins with Liz daydreaming about Max or whatever, she knocks a bowl of strawberries on the floor, Maria half-assedly helps her to pick them up and EATS ONE (it was on the FLOOR, Maria!), then even more baffling - she hands it to Max as she walks past him, he gives it to Liz and I was sure hoping she wasn't just going to use those that had fallen on the floor (with one partially eaten). Thankfully, she gets fresh ones and starts filling another bowl with them but gets sidetracked by snogging Max which causes her to knock over the new bowl of strawberries and WHAT A WASTE! There are people starving and you're throwing all this food they could eat on the floor! SO inconsiderate, Liz! Whilst snogging, Max experiences flashes of Liz's childhood (kind of creepy) while she sees visions of stars/space. When Michael and Maria learn of this, they try it out too, then say what they saw (he vaguely describes something about Maria's red shoes from her childhood and she basically describes what Liz saw), but it turns out they were both faking it (Michael reckons everyone has red shoes, so he just took a guess. Hey, Michael? *I* didn't have red shoes during my childhood! Quit generalizing!), Alex wants to try it out with Isabel, but she tells him there's no chance, the two humans and two aliens who've been doing all this snogging wonder if they've been used just so the other half of their pairs can get these visions, Liz and her mum have arguments about her being out late, spending time with Max, etc because the two of them get caught in a janitor's closet (or was in the eraser room? That place everyone seems to snog in), Isabel ends up letting Alex snog her when she hopes to get visions of where Max/Liz are (though it doesn't work). They're out digging a hole in the desert because Liz keeps hearing a beeping sound in her visions or whatever, they uncover a silver oval-shaped alien gizmo of some description with a symbol on it (I think they say it's a beacon maybe?), Michael reveals to Maria he really did get the vision of her red shoes, then the episode ends with both Liz's and Max's parents waiting to have a talk with them. Other notable things about this episode: 1) when Liz/Max were in class and she purposely dropped her pencil so he'd go underneath the table to...touch her hand? Lame! 2) I noticed Isabel was doing all the work with packing the shelves of Michael's new place he got after being emancipated while he just sits and chats with Max. 3) The commentary for this episode with the actresses who play Liz and Maria was more entertaining than the actual episode.
Finally we got not only a really good episode after what felt like a long time since the last one that could be described as 'really good', but also this was one of the eps I could actually remember some of from when I originally watched the show. However, there was some stuff I'd forgotten about and some things which I'd gotten mixed up. Anyway, Topolsky returns and is looking decidedly hobo-ish as she interrupts Liz/Max making out (thanks for putting an end to the boringness that is Liz/Max, hobo Topolosky!), talking crazy-like and warning them the FBI's out to get them. She later meets with Liz in a restaurant whilst wearing an unfortunate wig and says there's an alien hunter deep in the FBI named Pierce who'll do bad things to all of them. What a surprise, Michael doesn't trust her, all the humans and aliens take votes on whether or not to meet her with the silver alien gizmo Liz and Max dug up and the 'no' votes outweigh the two 'yes' votes (Liz and Alex). This isn't the last time this episode that hobo Topolsky will get stood up. In other news, this is the episode that introduces Emilie de Ravin's character of Tess - who everyone seemed to hate, but I never had a problem with since she actually appeared to have personality (unlike Liz). She befriends Isabel, they bond over how being new girls in school brings out all the ratbag guys, Alex is totally ignored, I wonder how Isabel doesn't automatically realise Tess is an alien since we've been told aliens like things extremely sweet/extremely spicy and Tess makes a point of wanting proper sugar (I can relate) instead of the crap kind. Speaking of crap...that's what Michael is when it comes to going on a double date with him, Maria, Liz and Max. While Max gives Liz a nice present in a proper gift bag (I think it's a bath thing that's meant to be good for her skin), Michael just gives Maria shampoo (and conditioner - as he points out) in a paper bag. It's amusingly lame. Then when Max takes Liz's hand to lead her out the door, all Michael does is start to walk out, leaving Maria behind, before realising he's supposed to do what Max did. Things don't improve at dinner where he's his usual piggish self with food, sticks Maria with the bill and then has to actually go ask her what he did wrong when she gets up to leave. She points out that if he's going to give her shampoo, at least not make it the generic brand, then proceeds to list all the reasons he sucks at going on a date and he wonders why she's with him if he sucks so much.
When all the dating stuff is over with, we get back to the actual important stuff that involves Michael suddenly changing his tune about hobo Topolsky being crazy (after she pays him a personal visit and says she'll meet him with the other silver alien gizmo which she has in her possession if he brings the one that the alien trio have), Maria catches him going to meet with Topolsky, insists on going with him and leaves Liz a note, the others go after them, Maria's not liking that Michael's driving her into potential danger, she starts freaking out, then gets out of the car and freaks out even more, she's concerned for him and refuses to leave when he tells her to run as they see a vehicle approaching, but it's just the Alienmobile. As they often do, Michael and Max get into an argument over what Michael's decided to do all by himself without consulting them, Max finally punches Michael (that's been a long time coming), he drops the silver alien gizmo, then a psychiatrist guy and the Sheriff turn up (in separate vehicles. This is a very popular patch of woods apparently, since everyone seems to be there...though, sadly for hobo Topolsky, it's not anywhere near where she's waiting for Michael. The psychiatrist and Sheriff explain that basically hobo Topolsky went nutso and everything she's said is a delusion. They leave, but not before Valenti picks up the silver alien gizmo Michael dropped, Max makes a snarky remark to Michael about him losing the thing (though it was you punching him that made him drop it, Max, so STFU. Also, ANY of you could've picked it up when you saw cars approaching...but, no, you all just left it there on the ground. Big dumb aliens!). The psychiatrist turns out to be Nasedo who shapeshifts in his car, shaking it (as he likes to do). Turns out poor hobo Topolsky wasn't crazy after all as she's waiting hopefully for Michael but instead gets grabbed by FBI goons, manhandled into the back of their car and we see her crying for help through the rear window of the car as it drives away. This was a bit different to how I remembered things playing out when I originally watched the episode on TV, as I thought it ended with her waiting to meet with the others, them electing not to meet her and then Nasedo turning up to off her. Oh well, whatever way it played out...things clearly didn't end well for poor hobo Topolsky (Julie Benz did a really great job this episode and they certainly made an effort with her makeup, as she had redness under her eyes and also on her nose to really sell just how far she'd fallen). I felt sorry for her. Other things of note about this episode: 1) we got a new final shot in the opening credits involving all six main characters posed artfully around the quarry which seems to be their go-to place for discussions now. 2) once again the commentary with the actresses who play Liz and Maria was quite fun, though it was pretty obvious they weren't fond of Katherine Heigl since they either suddenly clammed up when she was onscreen (after being so chatty the rest of the time) or they talked about other things/actors instead of her (whereas they were full of praise for everyone else).
The next episode amusingly starts with Max having sexy fantasies about gettin' it on with Tess right there in the middle of class. Everyone's gobsmacked (only Alex seems to be enjoying watching it - the perve), they soon learn the place hobo Topolsky was supposedly taken to burned down and apparently she went with it (Kyle makes a a brief appearance in the episode when the Sheriff comes home to switch whatever Kyle's watching over to the news so he can see the report on the building that burned down. Hi, Kyle! Didn't really notice you were missing the last two eps), the Sheriff then calls the psychiatrist, but learns from him that they never met, which tells him something was up with the person who said he was him last episode, he then talks to Max at the UFO Centre in front of a 'Trust No One' display (nice X-Files shout-out, if that's what it was intended to be), he says he understands Max not being able to trust anyone, later he brings the silver alien gizmo he picked up last episode and gives it to the gang at the café, saying that before he can expect others to trust him, he has to trust them or somesuch, Michael still doesn't trust him, Tess is nosy, Max feels he's drawn to her, Liz gets jealous, Max says there's nothing to worry about, then one night in the rain where he knows Tess has set up a scene with her car breaking down, despite his protests, he still snogs her. Naturally, Liz sees it. Obviously she's pissed at him, Maria is a good friend to Liz and now hates Max on principle, he maintains that Tess has control over him, Isabel goes to Tess's place to do some investigating, meets Tess's dad who seems nice enough at first but then isn't quite so nice. Also, Tess doesn't want Isabel touching a box she tries to help her with (I don't see why this automatically makes Isabel suspicious of her, as I wouldn't want someone I just met touching my stuff either). At one point Michael had gone there and found the place empty, then what looked like FBI guys with some army dudes showed up. His plan was to use a secret camera to spy on Tess in her house, Liz volunteers to go plant it, pretending to be there to talk with Tess about Max. Tess's dad gives off this creepy vibe, Liz breaks a statue, he won't let him help clean it up, she gets the camera back that she planted when there's a knock at the door that turns out to be Max, who's come to help get Liz out of there after she was invited to stay for dinner, she reunites with the others, they watch footage on the camera she planted somewhere else in the house and they see Tess using powers to reassemble the smashed statue, thus revealing her alienness.
The next few episodes kind of blended together for me and I don't really remember them in great detail (though they were actually pretty good, it's just my shoddy memory that's to blame). The main thing I recall from the nineteenth episode was Michael and Isabel having sex dreams about each other which kind of elicited a "No. No! NO! What're you doing?! Not each other! NO!! That ain't right!" sort of reaction from me since up until now they'd acted more like siblings with each other (even though only Max is Isabel's actual sibling). And then they had to make it even more bleh by having Isabel believe she'd gotten pregnant via these dreams (WTF?). Thankfully, in the next episode Max did some investigating by asking Tess (who the alien trio figured out was one of them, thus making them an alien quartet. She also had an alien book with pictures of them in it, told Max it was their density destiny to be together, blah blah blah) whether they can make babies via dreams and Tess was basically, "Phfft. That's stupid! We do it the same way as everyone else. Want me to show you?", which he reports back to Isabel and Michael, but sadly Michael already put his foot in it (as he often does) with Maria, who overheard the talk about a baby, by saying their "stupid relationship" didn't matter and only Isabel did. I felt really bad for Maria, as clearly Michael just seems to think they have some fun together snogging and not much else. She's all too forgiving, I reckon. Anyway, Nasedo (who they find out has been in the guise of Tess's dad) takes the form of Max and kidnaps Liz. Yay! Maybe we won't ever have to see her again? Disappointingly, they go to rescue her, as Nasedo's using himself and her as bait to lure out the alien hunter/FBI agent Topolsky warned them all about named Pierce. If nothing else, at least playing Nasedo gave Jason Behr a chance to show he can play something other than dull/boring Max and stretched his acting muscles somewhat, as he was far more interesting/entertaining in that part than he had been all season whilst playing Max. The Sheriff is getting closer and closer to finding out the alien trio's quartet's secret (though I think at this point he pretty much has figured out what they are, he's just looking for confirmation) and I feel a bit sorry for him too since he's trying to come across as non-threatening and wants them to trust him (he gave them the silver alien gizmo after all), but they just won't admit it (I think it's mainly Max and Michael who are most resistant). It's actually quite frustrating, since he's doing everything he can to convince them he's trustworthy.
At a carnival, there's a scene with Max, Nasedo-as-Max, Liz and Valenti in a room full of mirrors and Max gets grabbed by FBI agents, the Sheriff sees there's two of Max and the new Deputy who was only introduced in the twentieth episode, of course, turns out to be Agent Pierce (since why else would the character of a Deputy be getting so much focus/screentime?). He wants to torture information out of Max (who is being held in the 'white room'...though to me it looks more like a grey room), specifically how to work the two silver alien gizmos that he's now in possession of (not quite sure why they keep calling them 'orbs' when they're not round, but oval-shaped). The others obviously want to find Max, and Tess proves helpful by trying to get them to use their powers...but what she doesn't realise is these other aliens are pretty lame with their powers and nowhere near as advanced as her. Someone brings up Isabel's power of being able to invade people's dreams (I wonder if the human characters ever had a chat to her about that, setting some boundaries in regards to invading their dreams?), so they get her to do that in an effort to find Max - except she's never done it with someone who's awake before. They eventually figure out where he's being held, Tess tells the human characters they'd be a liability and to stay behind, the aliens go to rescue Max, Nasedo helps them out (but also kills a few people - but, hey, they're 'bad guys'...so I guess it's fine?), we spend a ridiculous amount of time on Michael looking at the finger of an agent Nasedo has killed as well as his own finger, trying his hardest to mimic the fingerprint of the dead guy so they can get access to where they need to go (he eventually manages to do it), Nasedo can now wave his hand and change Michael's clothes to look like that of an FBI agent apparently, and I was amused when he handed Michael a comb as *GASP* Michael's signature crazy/spiky hair gets flattened to help him blend in. Meanwhile, Tess has the handy ability to make people see things that aren't actually happening/aren't there, she uses this to help keep Pierce busy/distracted while the others free Max, then somewhere along the line the Sheriff turns up to help them escape and shoots Pierce (unfortunately, not fatally) and they vamoose with 'To be continued' coming up on the screen. I have to say, these last few episodes have been more interesting the the vast majority of this season. It felt like stuff actually happened (rather than just boring relationship crap/snogging).I know a rather large portion of the audience hated the character of Tess, but I personally think she was the shot in the arm the show needed to get its arse into gear.
The season final picks up where things left off, with them getting Max away from Pierce. Liz drives off with Max and they're pursued by agents in a Jeep firing machine guns at them and they seek shelter somewhere while Tess is telling Michael to go back for Nasedo (we saw him get shot in the previous episode whilst in the guise of an agent), but the others talk him out of it and they go to their arranged meeting place. Liz/Max ain't there, Tess points out they would've been screwed without Nasedo's help, but they're all for leaving him behind (despite Michael making a big statement when they were driving away about no one getting left behind). Liz learns it's Max's density destiny to be with Tess, but he says he doesn't want her, and only wants Liz since she was the thing that kept him going whilst he was being interrogated/tortured. Ugh. Anyway, eventually Michael and Valenti venture out to track down where Liz/Max are, they're chased and Michael uses his powers in front of Valenti to kill the vehicle chasing them. The Sheriff then has a chat with Max where he wants to know everything, but Max isn't exactly a fountain of information and basically says they know jack shit. At least Valenti learns it's not just Max, but Michael and Isabel too who are aliens (though I'm not sure if he knows about Tess yet). It's good that the Sheriff is finally let in on the big secret. Someone else who could've benefitted from knowing is Kyle, since he's left in the dark and therefore makes stupid mistakes like alerting one agent to the fact that he's been talking to an imaginary Pierce (courtesy of Tess doing her trick where she makes people see things in an effort to distract them) and then attempting to let out one agent who Max locks in a closet. To top things off, Kyle then grabs a gun from his dad's supply and then somehow manages to track down where everyone's at. Max has turned the tables on Pierce and is interrogating him whilst subjecting him to the torture of...a SLIDE SHOW. Dumbarse Kyle ends up freeing him, there's a shootout, Michael uses his powers to fling Pierce backwards and this makes him dead (I remembered this playing out differently. I thought it happened at night out in the middle of the desert or somewhere and Michael reversed the bullet that Pierce shot back into him - I think that would've been a neater trick), but then the Sheriff finds Kyle's gotten his stupid self shot and it must be said that William Sadler did a great job portraying Valenti's emotional reaction to his dying son and tearily begging Max to save Kyle.
After taking his sweet time, Max heals Kyle who wakes up to wonder WTF just happened (does this mean Max is now going to start seeing childhood memories of Kyle's like he did with Liz after he healed her? That'll be awkward). Michael talks with Max about killing Pierce, wonders what sort of person that makes him (it makes you an alien sort of person, Michael - which is what you are), they make a plan to go save Nasedo (using the rocks that were used during the ritual when Michael was sick), the humans (except for Liz) are once again left behind (Maria and Michael talk, with Maria being pissed that it seems like he's ditching her/leaving her behind but he claims it's because he loves her too much or something. So, does that mean since Max is letting Liz tag along he doesn't love her as much? Weird logic, Michael), they take out the agents who have Nasedo's corpse, do the resurrection thing, he comes back to life to tell them they're kind of useless and not ready for knowing what the silver alien gizmos do, then takes on the form of Pierce so people won't question what happened to him and also the aliens will have an inside man. Once he's gone, they immediately go against his wishes, using the silver alien gizmos that project an image of Max and Isabel's birth mum all Jor-El-like, who informs them that their original selves died and they were engineered copies of them...or something? I wasn't fully following what she was saying. What I did understand, though, was her saying she sent Tess as Max's young bride (he's the leader - and it's weird everyone acts like this is news to them since he's always taken on the role of leader, overruling decisions and bossing everyone around, etc), Michael is Isabel's 'betrothed' and Max's second-in-command. Liz thinks, "Welp...that means I have no point being here.", while Tess is all, "Yeah, scram. Me and Max being together is our density destiny.", but Max passes her over in favour of Liz, tells her nice things about how she's the only one for him, etc...but she leaves anyway (I guess I'm supposed to feel sorry for her, but I feel absolutely nothing). The ending is the four aliens posing on a rock as the signal goes out from the silver alien gizmos to what are presumably other aliens on Earth and and reaches out into space. The E.T.s have phoned home, it would appear.
Thoughts on this season as a whole:
Well, I'm glad I finally got around to finishing rewatching the first season of this show on DVD after a previous failed attempt. I'd forgotten quite a bit of it, but some things here and there were familiar. I was surprised how some events had been changed around in my memory, but more or less this was almost like watching the show for the first time since I remembered so little of it (I remember even less of the next two seasons, so they should be even more of a surprise when I rewatch them than this one was for me. Plus, there's the fact that I think I missed some episodes in the next two seasons - one of them being a rather important ep). It seems these days having 22 episode seasons is a bit of a rarity with most of the shows I watch, whereas back when this show originally aired it was the 'norm' to have such long seasons (I became used to them being that length thanks to BtVS and Angel). The downside to having such long seasons, however, is there's bound to be some episodes that are just 'filler' and don't really appear to achieve much. With this show, there seemed to be quite a lot of that. I felt it was most interesting when it really got into the alien stuff, whereas when it focused on the relationship stuff - especially Liz/Max - I felt pretty bored. Speaking of...I think it's safe to say I prefer the reboot's version of both characters. While Jason Behr did show some acting range in these last few episodes, I found him not particularly impressive and I still think he gave a better performance in his one episode of BtVS. I never got much from Shiri Appleby's performance here either. I found her Liz exceedingly dull most of the time, she didn't really seem to do much, and pretty much every other character was more interesting than her. I often see the female leads in shows get badmouthed by people, and I'm usually the first to jump to those characters' defense, but it seems I hold the 'minority' opinion of finding Liz the dullest character in this show (whereas it appears most people loved her?). I'll take the reboot versions of both characters any day. Katherine Heigl's Isabel was easier to like than the reboot's version, but I'd say they were more or less the 'same' for me if I had to compare. There were things I liked and disliked about both versions. As for Michael...well...he wasn't easy to like in either version, but as much of a jerk as this Michael could be, I still preferred him to the reboot version (spiky hair and all). I think what helped was he had this version's Maria to interact with, and she was easily the best part of this show. While the reboot's Maria barely left any sort of impression at all, this one was a stand-out from the very beginning and Majandra Delfino did so much with the role.
I already mentioned my reasons for preferring this version's Alex to the reboot's version (Colin Hanks is another stand-out from this show. It's just a shame he was wasted a lot of the time). As annoying as this version's Kyle could be at times, I still liked him more than the reboot's too. He was best when he'd be all snarky towards Liz and was actually being decent towards Max. I hope to see him interacting more one-on-one with the other aliens. I want to know what sort of dynamic he'll have with Michael, Isabel and Tess now that he's (presumably) been let in on their secret. I can't really compare Sheriff Valenti in this show to the one in the reboot since that version barely even registered. This one is clearly the better of the two and William Sadler did quite a lot of impressive understated acting in his role. I actually came to like Valenti (whereas I don't think I ever really did previously) and he's another one who I'm looking forward to seeing interact with the alien trio quartet now that he knows what they are (I especially liked in the season final, after Max had healed Kyle, when he said he didn't care who/what Max or the others were, he would be here for them now. Too bad they wasted so much time keeping him in the dark, since clearly he'll end up being a valuable ally to them). The biggest surprise for me was Nasedo, who was played by an actor I recognised from some episodes of Felicity and I think my memory must've gotten the two mixed up, as I thought he posed as a teacher in this show (whereas he was actually a teacher in Felicity) and I remembered him being more 'evil'...until he suddenly wasn't (it seems they've quickly forgiven him for all the people he's killed). I can't say I found this first season of the show particularly exciting. There was some good stuff towards the end and sprinkled throughout, but on the whole I thought it was about the same as I remembered it being from when I originally watched it on TV - ie. I thought it was fine, but not exactly the best show ever. Anyway, I'm interested enough to go straight onto rewatching the next two seasons. I know some people think this show loses the plot after Season 1, but since I wasn't super-impressed with the first season, maybe I'll feel differently to the 'majority' regarding Seasons 2 & 3? I guess I'll find out.